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).


It can be inferred from the passage that the term genre painting would most likely apply to which of the following?

(A) A painting depicting a glorious moment of victory following a battle

(B) A painting illustrative a narrative from the Bible

(C) A portrayal of a mythological Greek goddess

(D) A portrayal of a servant engaged in his work

(E) A formal portrait of an eighteenth-century king


The third sentence describes genre painting as depicting everyday activities of acquaintances including members of the humblest class. Among the given choices, it is only (D) which confirms to this depiction, and is the answer.

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