Born in Maisons-Laffitte, July 5, 1889.

Born into a family of the Parisian upper middle class, Jean Cocteau studied at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris. He was nine years old when his father committed suicide.

An artist and aesthete with a dandy temperament, he published his first poems in 1909 and became one of the fashionable figures of the Tout-Paris and the salons that the Daudet family, the Countess de Noailles and Marcel Proust frequented. In 1913, Diaghilev’s creation of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps was a real revelation for him, which was to influence his entire protean work.

Hired as an ambulance driver during the First World War, he befriended Apollinaire.

For Jean Cocteau, at the height of his glory, the interwar period was to be a period of intense creativity and the avant-garde. He collaborated with musicians such as Érik Satie (Parade, 1917) and Darius Milhaud, as well as with famous painters.

In his writing, he showed an equal curiosity, trying his hand at futuristic, Dadaist or Cubist inspired poetry: Le Cap de Bonne Espérance (1919), the poetic novel: Le Potomac (1919), Thomas the Impostor (1923), Les Enfants terribles (1929).

He also held a great place in the theatre, with The Married Men of the Eiffel Tower (1924), The Human Voice (1930), The Infernal Machine (1934), The Terrible Parents (1938), The Sacred Monsters (1940), The Typewriter (1941), The Two-headed Eagle (1946), Bacchus (1952).

Finally, the cinema in turn attracted Jean Cocteau, who gave the seventh art the films and screenplays that have left their mark, including Le Sang d’un poète (1930), L’Eternel retour (1943), La Belle et la Bête (1945), Les Parents terribles (1949), Orphée (1950), Le Testament d’Orphée (1960).

To the varied palette of his talents, we should also add that of a draughtsman, painter and sculptor. Cocteau’s drawings, etches and lithographs are a display of his genius. In addition to albums, he decorated the chapels of Villefranche-sur-Mer and Milly-la-Forêt.

A genial “jack-of-all-trades”, a master in the art of spells, this creator, whose originality prevents him from being locked into this or that literary or artistic movement, devoted himself to only one master: astonishment – his own as well as that of others.

Jean Cocteau was elected to the Académie française on March 3, 1955 in the chair of Jérôme Tharaud, by 17 votes to 11 for Jérôme Carcopino. There was also an unknown man, the Viscount of Venel, who wrote his letters of candidacy in verse, which were renewed more than thirty times.

Received on October 20, 1955 by André Maurois, Cocteau described the Dome as “some underwater cave, an almost supernatural aquarium light and, on semi-circular tiers, forty sirens with green tails and melodious voices”.

Died October 11, 1963.