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Jean Cocteau

Retour à l'ordre, Avant-garde, Surrealism

  • Triton ou l'Homme-sirène

Jean Cocteau

(Maisons-Laffitte, 1889 – Milly-la-Forêt, 1963)

Triton ou l'Homme-sirène, 1934

Pen and brown ink, brown ink wash and black pencil stump
on letterhead Corsier sur Vevey
27.3 x 21.5 cm

- Album Cocteau by Pierre Chanel, Editions Henri Veyrier-Tchou, 1979, reproduced on page 107
- Jean Cocteau Poésie graphique, Jacques Damase editor, 1987, reproduced on page 106
- This work is referenced in the archives of Mrs. Annie Guédras


Certificate of authenticity by Mrs. Annie Guédras, Périgueux on June 15, 2013

In 1934, Cocteau stayed in Switzerland, in Corsier sur Vevey, with Zoia Pokitonova         († 1972), the mother of the conductor and composer Igor Markévitch (1912-1983).
As early as 1930, Cocteau and Markévitch had the opportunity to work together. The composer asked the poet to write the text for his lyric Cantata. Cocteau, then very busy filming his surrealist film Le Sang d'un Poète, wrote this text for the Cantata only once Markévitch's musical composition was completely completed. The premiere of Cantata took place in Paris on June 4, 1930.

In Greek mythology, the Nereid Amphitrite unites with the sea god Poseidon to give birth to Triton, a sea god with a man's bust and a fishtail. Triton lived in a golden palace located at the bottom of the sea, and possessed a sea conch with a sound so bright that one could hear it until the ends of the sea. Triton's descendants were the newts, kinds of male sirens with a bearded man's body and a fishtail.

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