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Beauty knows naught but beauty
Jacob Israël de Haan

This stanza, ‘Beauty knows naught but Beauty’, derives from the poem ‘Beauty’ from ‘Quatrains’ by Jacob Israël de Haan (1881-1924).
The four-line poem is as follows: ‘Beauty knows naught but Beauty. / It respects no Virtue, no Honour. / It will not be forced or rewarded / Free of all law and doctrine.‘

The 1924 quatrain describes ‘beauty’ in four lines. ‘Beauty is a term that may be read in the poem as a synonym for ‘art’, the fine arts’.
Art is ‘autonomous’ and to listen to the muse is its only task. That is a characteristic of the art of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Art knows no compromise in its essence and is ‘’Free of all law and doctrine.”



‘Beauty knows naught but beauty’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.


Jacob Israël de Haan (1881-1924) was a writer and poet, publicist and legal expert/jurist. Among other things, he wrote the novel ‘Pijpelijntjes’ (‘Lines from De Pijp’), located in the Amsterdam district The Pijp. This was controversial due to its homosexual slant. In 1919, he emigrated to Palestine where he was politically active and was murdered in 1924. His line of poetry ‘For friendship such a limitless longing’ adorns the Homomonument near the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.

Artwork: You Are Here
Artist: Martijn Sandberg
Material: concrete
Measurements: (lxwxh) 80cm x 80cm x 40cm
Project: Legacy of the Twentieth Century
Realisation and completion: 2019
Location: Oranje Vrijstaatkade, Oostpoort, Amsterdam
Commissioned by: Amsterdam Municipality, District Oost