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To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century

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To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2012, 05:29
To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century narrative paintings by Italian artists from Tuscany, the Venetian examples of narrative paintings with religious subjects that Patricia Fortini Brown analyzes in a recent book will come as a great surprise. While the Tuscan paintings present large-scale figures, clear narratives, and simple settings, the Venetians filled their pictures with dozens of small figures and elaborate building, in addition to a wealth of carefully observed anecdotal detail often irrelevant to the paintings’ principal subjects—the religious stories they narrate. Although it occasionally obscured these stories, this accumulation of circumstantial detail from Venetian life—the inclusion of prominent Venetian citizens, for example—was considered appropriate to the narration of historical subjects and underlined the authenticity of the historical events depicted. Indeed, Brown argues that the distinctive style of the Venetian paintings—what she calls the “eyewitness style”—was influenced by Venetian affinity for a strongly parochial type of historical writing, consisting almost exclusively of vernacular chronicles of local events embroidered with all kinds of inconsequential detail.

And yet, while Venetian attitudes toward history that are reflected in their art account in part for the difference in style between Venetian and Tuscan narrative paintings, Brown has overlooked some practical influences, such as climate. Tuscan churches are filled with frescoes that, in contrast to Venetian narrative paintings, consist mainly of large figures and easily recognized religious stories, as one would expect of paintings that are normally viewed from a distance and are designed primarily to remind the faithful of their religious tenets. In Venice, where the damp climate is unsuited to fresco, narrative frescoes in churches were almost nonexistent, with the result that Venetian artists and their public had no practical experience of the large-scale representation of familiar religious stories. Their model for painted stories was the cycle of secular historical paintings in the Venetian magistrate’s palace, which were indeed the counterpart of written history and were made all the more authoritative by a proliferation of circumstantial detail.

Moreover, because painting frescoes requires an unusually sure hand, particularly in the representation of human form, the development of drawing skill was central to artistic training in Tuscany, and by 1500 the public there tended to distinguish artists on the basis of how well they could draw human figures. In Venice, a city virtually without frescoes, this kind of skill was acquired and appreciated much later. Gentile Bellini, for example, although regarded as one of the supreme painters of the day, was feeble at drawing. On the other hand, the emphasis on architecture so evident in the Venetian narrative paintings was something that local painters obviously prized, largely because painting architecture in perspective was seen as a particular test of the Venetian painter's skill.
4) The author suggests that fifteenth-century Venetian narrative paintings with religious subjects were painted by artists who
(A)Â were able to draw human figures with more skill after they were apprenticed to painters in Tuscany
(B)Â assumed that their paintings would typically be viewed from a distance
(C) were a major influence on the artists who produced the cycle of historical paintings in the Venetian magistrate’s palace
(D)Â were reluctant to paint frescoes primarily because they lacked the drawing skill that painting frescoes required
(E)Â were better at painting architecture in perspective than they were at drawing human figures
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E


5) The author implies that Venetian narrative paintings with religious subjects included the representation of elaborate buildings in part because
(A) the ability to paint architecture in perspective was seen in Venice as proof of a painter’s skill
(B)Â the subjects of such paintings were often religious stories
(C)Â large frescoes were especially conducive to representing architecture in perspective
(D)Â the architecture of Venice in the fifteenth century was more elaborate than was the architecture of Tuscany
(E)Â the paintings were imitations of a kind of historical writing that was popular in Tuscany
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


Can someone please explain the approach for solving above two?
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Re: To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2012, 08:57
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Your process on any RC passage is to first do a balanced read of the passage before tackling any questions, taking notes on the major topics of each paragraph with a focus on structure over details. When you hit these "specific" questions you will need to go back to re-read the relevant section of the passage to understand the specific details so you can answer the question.

The first question refers to "Venetian narrative paintings with religious subjects", which should prompt you to go back to the 2nd paragraph. [Note: Some people like to read the answer choices before going back to the text, others like to go straight to the text before reading the questions - you decide what works best for you.] When you re-read that 2nd paragraph and review the answer choices, you realize pretty quickly that you don't have enough information to answer the question yet. You have to keep reading through the end of the passage before you read about the Venetians prizing the drawing of architecture more than drawing human forms - the content of the correct answer E.

Your second question is very similar. If you only read about religous paintings in paragraph 2, you will have a difficult time finding the answer, which is found in the last sentence of the passage.

In general, the GMAT won't make you read so much of the passage to find answers to these specific questions. It can happen, though, so be prepared to read on a bit if you haven't found your answer.

KW
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Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah


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Re: To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2012, 05:54
just confused that shouldn't the answer to the question 4 - is it not C?

"Their model for painted stories was the cycle of secular historical paintings in the Venetian magistrate’s palace, which were indeed the counterpart of written history and were made all the more authoritative by a proliferation of circumstantial detail."
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Re: To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2012, 09:30
Thank you very much Kyle!

Source for this is LSAT, if anyone curious.
Re: To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century   [#permalink] 22 Jul 2012, 09:30
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To critics accustomed to the style of fifteenth-century

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