Rouault was born in Paris. After being apprenticed to a stained-glass maker from 1885 to 1890, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Gustave Moreau, where he was a contemporary of Matisse. Rouault was associated with the fauvist artists, but, unlike them, did not use pure, bright colours or portray similar subjects. Rouault preferred to paint characters like prostitutes, circus performers and outcasts, using sombre but glowing colours. He was a devout Catholic and many of his paintings depict scenes from the life of Christ.