Beauty is a promise of happiness  

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Kant's famous definition of the beautiful. "That is beautiful," says Kant, "which pleases without interesting." Without interesting! Compare this definition with this other one [...] by Stendhal, who once called the beautiful une promesse de bonheur. Here, at any rate, the one point which Kant makes prominent in the aesthetic position is repudiated and eliminated—le désinteressement. Who is right, Kant or Stendhal? --Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

Stendhal's depiction of the process of falling in love, from On Love, 1822
Stendhal's depiction of the process of falling in love, from On Love, 1822

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"La beauté est une promesse de bonheur" (English: Beauty is a promise of happiness) is a dictum by Stendhal. It was first published as a footnote in his treatise On Love (1822).

The full note reads like this:

"La beauté n’est que la promesse du bonheur. Le bonheur d’un Grec était différent du bonheur d’un Français de 1822. Voyez les yeux de la Vénus de Médicis et comparez-les aux yeux de la Madeleine de Pordonone (chez M. de Sommariva). [1]"

It is often misattributed to Edmund Burke.

The title of Only A Promise of Happiness (2008) references the dictum.

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