French, 1694 ‑ 1752
The Education of the Virgin, about 1735 ‑ 1737
Oil on canvas
36 5/8 × 29 in. (93 × 73.7 cm.)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Irvin Abell Jr. 1982.11
What’s the Back Story?
The childhood of the Virgin Mary is not described in the Bible. However, stories about her family, childhood, and eventual marriage to Joseph developed very early in the history of the Christian church. According to popular medieval legend, young Mary was exceptionally pious. She insisted on being educated in scripture by her mother before she entered the Temple in Jerusalem to declare her sacred purpose.