Quickly after their meeting Cocteau set about convincing Picasso to design the costumes and sets for his ballet: Parade. Scored by Erik Satie and performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes the ballet was elevated common entertainment into high art – due to its ground breaking approach and unusual themes the ballet was received terribly by contemporary critics and patrons alike. However, Picasso enjoyed both professional and personal success off the back of the ‘Parade debacle’. His cubist costumes and dream-like sets inspired the poet Guillaume Apollinaire to coin the word ‘surrealism’ in his program notes, long before Surrealism became an artistic phenomenon in Paris. Further to this Picasso met and subsequently married one of the dancers in the Ballet Russes: Olga Khoklova.
Cocteau and Picasso remained friends following Parade, and through their mutual love of bull-fighting and shared compulsion to always create, would enjoy each other’s company for the rest of their lives. The artists often dedicated drawings and humorous works to each other with Picasso often making fun of his close friend.
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