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Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) was a French painter, poet, designer, playwright and filmmaker. Cocteau is one of the most important figures of French Surrealism, although he always denied being in any way connected to the movement.

Jean became famous in Bohemian circles as "The Frivolous Prince." In 1912, he collaborated with the Ballets Russes. After World War I, Cocteau met the poet Guillaume Apollinaire and the artist Pablo Picasso. In 1917, thanks to Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian impresario, Cocteau wrote a scenario for the ballet Parade — the set of this important ballet was realized by Pablo Picasso and the music was composed by Erik Satie. In the late 1920s, Cocteau wrote the libretto for Igor Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex. In 1918, he met the French poet Raymond Radiguet. They worked and went on many journeys together.

Cocteau promoted his friend's works in his artistic group. Cocteau is well-known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929) and the films The Blood of a Poet, Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus. During World War II, he created sets for the Theatre de la Mode. In 1955, Cocteau was elected to the Academie Française and the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium. He was commander of the Legion of Honour, a member of the Academie Mallarme, the Academy of Arts (Berlin) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.