Scientific Director 

of Look and Medicine 



Pr Jean Paul Meningaud


An incessant dialogue between the Look and Medicine. "The form, it is the bottom which goes up to the surface" is a famous quotation attributed to Victor Hugo (Philosophical Proses (1860-1865); Utility of the Beautiful).

I give you more precise extracts: " This skeptic will strengthen you, this coward will inflame you, this corrupt will cleanse you; and from reading this man who is not good, you will come out better.  Why ? It's because Horace is beautiful. And that through the evil, which is on the surface, the beautiful, which is at the bottom, acts. 

Forma, the beauty. Beauty is form.  Strange and unexpected proof that the form is the substance.  Confusing shape with surface is absurd.  The form is essential and absolute; it comes from the very bowels of the idea. It is the Beautiful; and all that is beautiful manifests the true. ". 

And further on " Wonderful thing, and these are the increasing astonishments of the contemplated art, yes, one can affirm that the ideas in Horace, what one names the bottom, it is only the surface, and that the true bottom it is the form, this eternal form which, in the unfathomable mystery of the Beautiful, is attached to the absolute ".

 Dear reader, don't you think these quotes are wonderfully appropriate for our art? Medicine and plastic surgery!

There have been many ways to define beauty throughout the centuries. In In Metaphysics (Book 12, Chapter 3), Aristotle (384-322 BC) quotes:  order,  the "symmetry" et the "defined " and specifies their very clear links with the mathematical sciences.

The artists use modules. The one described by Polyklete is the most famous. It is reported to us by Vitruvius, then by da Vinci in his famous Vitruvian man. In 1509, Pacioli published in Venice a book entitled The divine proportiondedicated to the golden ratio. The book is illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci. Still him! But beware, the Tuscan painter, relied mainly on his own anatomical studies, preferring to start from the real than the concept. Much later, cephalometric studies based on the "Normal Law" were and still are an important element in defining beauty. Finally, Charles Auguste Baud, a Swiss surgeonin his book Harmony of the face" published in 1967, described the function, as an intrinsic criterion of beauty.

A beautiful face implies: an orthography, i.e. a correct meshing of the teeth, a good permeability of the upper aerodigestive tract, a functional oculomotor apparatus, a good motricity of the face (the absence of facial paralysis), etc. It is this last option that was chosen by "Look and Medicine": appearance, whose power is growing in our societies, can only be sustained by good medicine, whether in terms of prevention or treatment. 

All diseases begin or end with a skin impact that is detectable by the clinician.  On the other hand, health is reflected in our appearance. We can without hesitation paraphrase the " Mens sana in corpore sano". by " Apparentia sana in corpore sano ".

To go further, it is easy to see that charm cannot result from a motionless form but on the contrary necessarily animated. Sometimes, the photo of a face seems ordinary whereas this same face when it is animated releases a crazy charm. However, it is necessarily a psyche which animates a face.

After forty, a man is responsible for his face, a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, him again! The loop is closed: the form is well of the bottom as Victor Hugo said perfectly.

Thank you to all the authors of this issue of "Look and Medicine" for having given grey substance to the editorial line of this magazine whose main thread is an incessant dialogue between the Look and Medicine.