Like the rest of the Belgian Surrealist group that formed around the well-known painter René Magritte, Jane Graverol constructed dreamlike, conceptual images. In a striking departure from her male colleagues’ work, her compositions primarily centre on a proud, determined female figure. Whereas Surrealists tended to show women in the passive role of idealised muse, Graverol instead depicted an erotic female body whose bestial traits blend fairytale with grotesquerie. Angels, phoenixes, dragons, and other winged creatures turn up in her paintings from the very start, but became recurring elements in the 1960s, when the artist began to experiment with collage. The sphinx in L’École de la vanité (1967) exemplifies this approach; taking the ambiguity of the mythological to an extreme, she conveys a femininity that is monstrous, yet aware of its own sensuality. Though her insides are a tangle of machinery, her face is as delicate and seductive as the flower held in her paws. Refusing to consider this vanity a flaw, Graverol presents it as an essential tool for the modern woman, and sees this interweaving of mythology and technology as the way to emancipation. This metamorphosis into a hybrid yields the image of a female figure who can mould her own destiny by turning the parts of her body into weapons of social empowerment.