Sophie Chéron

French, 1648-1711

Sophie received early training in art from her father. Working as an artist, she eventually provided her family’s sole source of income, a role that Sophie took on so well that she was even able to pay for her brother’s education in Rome. She produced paintings and drawings and was one of the first women to produce prints prior to the year 1800. She showed her works at the yearly Salons in Paris. Jane’s image of Sophie shows the artist in front of one of her prints. This portrait of Sophie is based on one of several images that the artist painted of herself. To be a successful woman artist in Europe prior to the 20th century required a great deal of self-promotion. Often this was done in the form of the self-portrait; many people wanted an image of the remarkable individual who was seen as an exception to the limitations of her sex. This image of Sophie advertises her skill as an artist but also presents an attractive individual, as most woman artists were expected to fulfill both of these roles.

Germaine Greer, The Obstacle Race (Great Britain: Secker and Warburg, 1979), 72–74 .

Original Works Referenced

Léon Olivie
Portrait of Sophie Chéron after Self-portrait of the Artist
Musée National du Chateau de Versailles