Art of History

Double Agent: Chevalier d'Éon

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The Chevalier d’Éon (1728–1810) is known as a transgender icon, living the first half of their life as a man, and the second as a woman. Theirs is also a life that is remarkably documented in contemporary artwork. But how much can we conclusively determine about how the Chevalier viewed themselves from their portraits?

Today’s Image(s): Alexandre-Auguste Robineau, The Fencing-Match between the Chevalier de Saint-George and the Chevalier d’Éon (c. 1787-9). Oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust.

And: Thomas Stewart, Chevalier d’Éon, after Jean-Laurent Mosnier (1792). National Portrait Gallery.

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