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Laurent de La Hyre: 'Allegory of Grammar'

This is probably one of a series of half-length female figures of the seven Liberal Arts which once belonged to Gédéon Tallemant (1613 - 1668), apparently painted for his house in the Rue d'Angoumois, Paris. The pictures vary in size, and all are dated 1649 or 1650.

Grammar is here personified as a woman. The essence of this art is explained in the inscription, which may be translated as 'A meaningful and literate word spoken in a correct manner'. A second series of the Liberal Arts, also by La Hyre or a member of his studio, may have existed in Rouen; and a total of ten paintings of these subjects survive today. An identical version, perhaps from the Rouen series, is in Baltimore (Walters Art Gallery).