Allegory of Grammar
This painting is one of a series depicting the Seven Liberal Arts, which represent disciplines associated with learning and language - grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy - as half-length figures of women. Grammar is shown as a woman watering plants, conveying the idea that young minds need encouragement to develop and grow. The Latin inscription on the scroll can be translated as 'A meaningful and literate word spoken in the correct manner'.
La Hyre's figure imitates classical sculpture: her drapery appears solid and is arranged in crisp, overlapping folds. Further references to the classical age can be seen in the column and ornate urn.
La Hyre was probably i...