Max Jacob (mäks zhäkôb´), 1876–1944, French writer and painter, b. Brittany. His dream-inspired verse, plays, novels, and paintings bridged and gave impetus to the symbolist and surrealist schools. His conversion (1914) from Judaism to Roman Catholicism had great impact on his work. Among Jacob's novels are Saint Matorel (1911) and Filibuth; ou La Montre en or (1922); his verse, usually light and ironic, includes Fond de l'eau (1927) and Rivages (1932). Prose and poetry are combined in his Défense de Tartufe (1919) and the play Le Siège de Jérusalem: drame céleste (1912–14). His critical study, Art poétique (1922), had wide influence. One-man shows of Jacob's paintings were held in New York in 1930 and 1938. He died in a Nazi concentration camp.
See study of his paintings by G. Kamber (1971); study of his religious poetry by J. Schneider (1978).