Jean-Georges Beraud was a Russian-born French painter from the 19th century. He is mostly known for his lively depictions of the Parisian day-to-day, as well as its bohemian nightlife. He also created paintings with biblical characters in contemporary and mundane situations. Beraud is regarded as one of the artists that thoroughly depicted the Belle Epoque.
Jean Beraud was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in January 1849. Although born in Russia, his parents were French; his father, also Jean, was a sculptor, probably working at the St. Isaac Cathedral.
Upon his father’s death, Beraud moved with his family to Paris. After concluding his education, the artist was in the process of becoming a lawyer; however, following the eclosion of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, he would move his aspirations towards art.
The painter, Leon Bonnat, soon became Beraud’s teacher. He exhibited in the Paris Salon for the first time in 1872, although this was not enough to give him recognition. Such attention came only four years later, in 1876, when he exhibited On the Way Back from the Funeral. At the Exposition Universelle of 1889, he presented along with the French Society of Watercolorists.
The artist became primarily known for his depiction of the Parisian life, becoming one of the main characters to depict the Belle Epoque. Also, Beraud had a unique style, standing between the contemporary Impressionists, and a more conservative, Academic art style, typical to the Salons.
Beraud didn’t merely depict the Parisian city life. His artworks often carried hints of mockery with a truth-based sense of humor towards it. He was a quite controversial artist, not because of the aforementioned mockery, however. Beraud often executed paintings depicting biblical figures in contemporary, mundane situations. Mary Magdalene in the House of Pharisees is a painting with such themes and caused quite a fuss.
As the 19th century came to an end, Beraud would gradually decelerate his production, focusing more on several exhibition committees, such as the Salon de la Societe Nationale. The artist received the Legion d’honneur in 1894, which is the highest French military and civil honor possible to be awarded.
Beraud would never marry, neither had any offspring.
Jean-Georges Beraud died in Paris in October 1935. He is buried at the renowned Montparnasse Cemetery, where several artists and distinguished figures also rest.