The Ascension of the Bourgeoisie
The Bourgeois Gentleman
“Education led to the progress of the bourgeoisie.”
The bourgeois gentleman or middle-class aristocrat is the central figure in Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, the famous Moliere comedy from 1670. The play satirises attempts at social-climbing and pokes fun at the bourgeois personality; at the vulgar, pretentious middle class and their vanity, and at the snobbish aristocracy. But it is artistic hyperbole, for the townspeople tried to ensure the highest level of education because it guaranteed a successful career and thus family security. Not least, it also brought personal prestige. Centres of learning and wisdom were seen as important venues for the sustenance of urban life.
Anna Maria Victoria Jabornigg-Gamseneck

Third quarter of the 18th century; about 1770
Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek
Osijek, Osiječko-baranjska County, Croatia
Ephraim Hochhauser
Oil on canvas
The noble woman, presented holding compasses in one hand, sits in front of sheets of drawing paper, a ruler and a protractor. At the time, geometry was considered a form of entertainment for amateurs and a part of what constituted a good education.