With a tough sentence, it can help to start with the sentence core, just as we might if we were trying to solve an SC problem. Taking away all the modifiers, here's what's left:
A history uses works to sketch a perspective.
Now that's so far reduced as to be almost meaningless, but it's a great place from which to start analyzing the sentence. "A history" (i.e. a historical study) is using certain works to provide us with some perspective. Let's add a few more words in:
A recent cultural history uses well-known works to sketch a fresh perspective on the impact of these works on the imaginations of their original viewers.
Okay, so this recent history is looking at well-known works (i.e. famous art) to show us something new about how these works affected their original viewers. What original viewers? Apparently, people in the European Baroque Period in the 17th century. Basically, then, we're looking in a new way at how audiences in the 17th c. viewed major works of art.
We can take a similar approach with the rest of the passage. We don't have to explicitly identify the core of each sentence (I'd only do that as an exercise), but we can cut out a lot of extraneous detail. Does it matter that the author is from Ohio? Do we need to memorize the list of Baroque characteristics? No. Here's what I get out of the rest of p1:
The author goes along with traditional thinking about the elements that make up Baroque art. Readers shouldn't have a problem with this, though, since it's nice to have something familiar when dealing with a new perspective.
Let me know if this helps.
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York
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