This genre piece by Jan Steen, a painter from the Dutch Golden Age, shows the inside of a village school. A boy is being punished by his teacher while other pupils look on. Although literacy in the Netherlands was comparatively high, schooling was not compulsory and many who went to school received only a basic education.
Jan Steen (1626–1679), The Village School, oil on canvas, ca. 1663/1665; source: © The National Gallery of Ireland.