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It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two [#permalink]
26 May 2005, 11:22
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21. It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two or three hundred years ago, especially one without a signature or with a questionably authentic signature, is indubitably the work of this or that particular artist. This fact gives the traditional attribution of a disputed painting special weight, since that attribution carries the presumption of historical continuity. Consequently, an art historian arguing for a deattribution will generally convince other art historians only if he or she can persuasively argue for a specific reattribution.
Which one of the following, if true, most strongly supports the position that the traditional attribution of a disputed painting should not have special weight?
(A) Art dealers have always been led by economic self-interest to attribute any unsigned paintings of merit to recognized masters rather than to obscure artists.
(B) When a painting is originally created, there are invariably at least some eyewitnesses who see the artist at work, and thus questions of correct attribution cannot arise at that time.
(C) There are not always clearly discernible differences between the occasional inferior work produced by a master and the very best work produced by a lesser talent.
(D) Attribution can shape perception inasmuch as certain features that would count as marks of greatness in a masterâ€™s work would be counted as signs of inferior artistry if a work were attributed to a minor artist.
(E) Even though some masters had specialists assist them with certain detail work, such as depicting lace, the resulting works are properly attributed to the masters alone.