Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette
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Choose an alternate description of this item written for these projects:
- Witness to America's Past
- MHS 225th Anniversary
- Revolutionary-era Art and Artifacts
- Main description
[ This description is from the project: Object of History ]
At age twenty, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), of a French noble family, bought a ship to bring him to America to participate in the struggle for liberty. Commissioned as a Major General in the Continental Army, he became a protégé and surrogate son of George Washington. In this portrait commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette wears the uniform of the Parisian Garde Nationale with a medal awarded him by King Louis XVI for his service in the American war, next to one awarded him for his role in leveling the Bastille. The third medal is for the Society of the Cincinnati, formed by Washington’s officers.