GRE : Reading Comprehension



All of Francoise Duparc’s surviving paintings blend portraiture and genre. Her subjects appear to be acquaintances whom she has asked to pose. She has captured both their self-consciousness and the spontaneity of their everyday activities, the depiction of which characterizes genre paintings. But, genre painting, especially when it portrayed members of the humblest classes, was never popular in eighteenth century France. The Le Nain brothers and Georges de La Tour, who also chose such themes, were largely ignored. Their present high standing is due to a different, more democratic political climate and to different aesthetic values. We no longer require artists to provide images of humanity for our moral edification but rather regard idealization as a falsification of truth. Duparc gives no improving message and discretely refrains from judging her subjects. In brief, her works neither elevate not instruct. This restraint largely explains her lack of popular success during her lifetime, even if her talent did not go completely unrecognized by her eighteenth century French contemporaries.

The difficult words in this passage are blend (combine), portraiture (art of painting of a real person), genre (style of painting scenes from real or rustic life), acquaintances (friends), spontaneity (naturalness), depiction (description), aesthetic (artistic) and edification (enlightenment).


If the history of Duparc’s artistic reputation were to follow to that of the Le Nain brothers and Georges de La Tour, present-day assessments of her works would be likely to contain which of the following?

(A) An evaluation that accords high status to her works

(B) Acknowledgement of her technical expertise but dismissal of her subject matter as trivial

(C) Agreement with assessment made in her own time but acknowledgements of the exceptional quality of a few of her paintings

(D) Placement of her among the foremost artists of her century

(E) A reclassification of her work as portraiture rather than genre painting


The author says in the 5th sentence that the Le Nain brothers and Georges de La Tour, two other artists who had also specialized in genre paintings, were largely ignored during their lifetimes but have a present high standing. So, if Duparc’s artistic reputation were to follow theirs, the present day assessment of her works would give her works a high status.

So, the answer is (A).

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