François Cheng: Beauty makes us better

"Women are wrong to believe that their beauty is an asset to be cultivated like a medal that one possesses.

Moreover, all Being unique, all beauty is singular, and there is no canon of beauty, the canon of beauty is an element of Greek thought that appeared when Greek sculpture sank into academicism. beauty and charm are born of singularity, uniqueness is terrifying.

I find that one of the most beautiful portraits of women is that of Rembrandt's second wife, who was a relatively old woman. is more young, she has wrinkles and very full forms, but in her eyes a light of sensitivity, kindness and harmony Life is a woman filled with a kind of inner peace. For me, it truly embodies beauty. "

Beauty, impulse towards beauty, that is to say towards fullness, for a full and, if possible, harmonious existence with other presences that also tend to beauty 999. What makes human beauty is a work of the mind, so to speak, which animates the whole being from the inside, as well as the more or less agreeable external features. , more or less pretty, it comes from above.

Take Mona Lisa: her beauty lies in her look, in her smile and perhaps also in her voice, that we do not hear, but her lips allow to feel a certain "want to say" of this woman, who is inhabited by a whole set of desires and dreams. "

" I was 8 years old when in 1937 broke out in China the war of resistance against the Japanese

At the end of the year, the terrible massacre of Nanjing began, so I saw pictures of mutilated human beings ... I also saw some soldiers Japanese women who were being photographed next to women they had just raped, naked, stained, and who, after the pose, were going to be killed. A little before, one of my aunts brought us reproductions of the Louvre.

The Source, from Ingres, is the picture that struck me the most at the time. And in my mind were superimposed the image of this naked woman and that of those women soiled, humiliated and promised to death. Since then, I have been haunted by these two themes: beauty and evil. What I understood at that time was that we could not talk about beauty without posing the problem of evil. And conversely, we can not focus exclusively on evil, we must consider the other end of the universe, beauty, which justifies our earthly existence and makes our life worth living. "


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