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The Core Curriculum

The Pleasures of Education, Louis Marin Bonnet, French, 1777.

This painting depicts an idealized vision of the education of young women in the period Wollstonecraft wrote and, in doing so, represents many of the trends she critiqued.  Note, for example, the girl’s ornate dress, the image of a heart struck with an arrow in the bottom right corner, as well as those of musical instruments, painting materials, and a dove symbolizing peace.  Everything centers on her physical appearance, yielding temperament, and artistic accomplishments.  Conspicuously absent are any symbols of philosophy, mathematics, or higher reasoning.   


Yale University Art Gallery (public domain)

Artistic Response
Access Level: 
Public Domain