This illustration from a prayer book is a representation of females taking on the role of educator as well as being educated during the Renaissance. The illustrator is unknown, but is described as being from the style of the Masters of the Gold Scrolls. This group operated in the south Netherlands from approximately 1415 to 1455 and this particular illustration is dated to ca. 1445.
Named for the dominant use of gold scrolls on flat, often burnt orange grounds in the backgrounds of many of the miniatures, the style of these artists is formed by a combination of influences. Other characteristics of this style of painting include but are not limited to a flat color, and a doll-like treatment of representation of the figures, as they are drawn with supple, unbroken lines. The garments in this particular illustration show pleats and straight folds, which fall in waves to the ground. The dominant colors are green, blue, red, and orange. The scenes take place in a¬†fairly elaborate interior.
This particular illustration shows a female teacher teaching a group of girls how to read from a prayer book. Like the style of the Masters of the Gold Scrolls, the girls appear to be doll-like. While at first it does seem they are learning to read, the teacher holds a ferule, a wooden paddle for striking students. And one has her hand outstretched ready to receive a blow. This would have been typical of education up until the mid-late 20th century when it was perfectly acceptable to strike students for both not knowing answers and¬†for discipline.