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date: 24 February 2020

Berain, Jeanlocked

  • Jérôme de La Gorce


(bap. Saint-Mihiel, Lorraine, June 6, 1640; d Paris, Jan 24, 1711). French designer. After beginning his career in Paris as an engraver, he was summoned to Versailles in 1674 to work on the festivities celebrating the conquest of the Franche-Comté. That year he was appointed Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi, succeeding Henry Gissey. Thereafter he was to provide all the models of costumes for the operas performed at the royal residences and on the operatic stage of Paris, replacing Carlo Vigarani as designer of the sets and stage effects there in 1680. Until at least 1707 he prepared designs at the Académie Royale de Musique for the works of Lully and his successors, Collasse, Marin Marais, Charpentier, Desmarets, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Campra, Destouches and Jean-Féry Rebel (for illustration see Ballet de cour.

Berain won fame in other areas as well, notably in naval decoration and ‘grotesques’ (styles of ornament widely diffused through engravings) and many of his designs for operatic performances have survived in collections in Paris, Stockholm and London. He drew inspiration for his scenery from the Italians Torelli, Grimaldi, Burnacini and Vigarani, although he was less of an innovator than the Galli-Bibienas; he continued to respect the principle of frontal representation, with regular and symmetrical disposition of the lateral frames, and never used the oblique perspective known as ...

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