Lot of great conversation going on about this one, so I thought I'd weigh in and try to take it apart with technique. Let's see how it goes.
A museum has been offered an undocumented statue, supposedly Greek and from sixth century B.C. Possibly the statue is genuine but undocumented because it was recently unearthed or because it has been privately owned. However, an ancient surface usually has uneven weathering, whereas the surface of this statue has the uniform quality characteristically produced by a chemical bath used by forgers to imitate a weathered surface. Therefore, the statue is probably a forgery.
Conclusion: The statue is probably a forgery.
Premise: Undocumented, with an even surface more characteristic of forgery than a genuine antique
Assumption: There's no way a genuine antique could get that even surface
This is my assumption, and I promise I have yet to read the answer choices. As far as I can see, this is the major leap the argument makes. if there's some way a genuine antique could end up with that fake-looking surface, this could still be genuine.
Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
(A) Museums can accept a recently unearthed statue only with valid export documentation from its country origin.
PROBLEM: This doesn't relate to the authenticity of the statue at all. We only care about the surface.
(B) The chemical bath that forgers use was at one time used by dealers and collectors to remove the splotchy surface appearance of genuinely ancient sculptures.
ANSWER: This looks good, because it describes a reason a genuine antique might have ended up with the fake-looking surface.
(C) Museum officials believe that forgers have no technique that can convincingly simulate the patchy weathering characteristic of the surfaces of ancient sculptures.
PROBLEM: This would strengthen the argument slightly, because it implies that the uneven weathering is always going to be genuine.
(D) An allegedly Roman Sculpture with a uniform surface similar to that of the statue being offered to the museum was recently shown to be a forgery.
PROBLEM: This strengthens the argument pretty straightforwardly.
Hope that helps!
Tommy Wallach | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | San Francisco
Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Reviews