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German History in Documents and Images
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Awarding Prizes to Industrious Pupils (18th Century)
Advancement through education was especially important to the German middle classes, among whom the socially distinctive “educated middle class” [Bildungsbürgertum] emerged during the course of the eighteenth century. In the engraving below, parents attend a ceremony – reminiscent of a religious confirmation – at which a man in secular dress, evidently a teacher, awards books to their children, both boys and girls. Copperplate engraving by Johann Michael Mettenleiter (1765-1853), eighteenth century.