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# It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two

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Senior Manager
Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Posts: 307
It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 02:19
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12. 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 master’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.

The OA is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
a

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Joined: 07 Jun 2009
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 08:18
1
KUDOS
We have to find the option that most strongly supports the position that the traditional attribution of a disputed painting should not have special weight
I was confused between A and D, but after a lot of deliberation, I think D would be the better option because:

The last line of the passage states, "...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".
So, if art historians are judging an art they would be able to differentiate between a great work of art and a mediocre art. So even if art dealers price a an average painting very highly, the historians would be able to differentiate easily. So A does not support strongly.
(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.
On the other hand, D specifies that attribution can shape perception, which can change then way people look at it, so disputed paintings should not have a special weight.
(D) Attribution can shape perception inasmuch as certain features that would count as marks of greatness in a master’s work would be counted as signs of inferior artistry if a work were attributed to a minor artist.
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 08:53
The passage is about identifying the right artist for a painting.
The question asks which fact will support that "traditional identifications" should not be given special weight, ie

which fact gives maximum reason for a traditional attribution to go wrong.

A is clearly the answer. People selling paintings would be interested in attributing the works to well known painters, and will be very likely to do so.

What aknine has said above for D, it is not about what is the consequence of assigning a painting to a well known/unknown painter. The concern of the passage is - whether the painter is correctly identified. D is mostly irrelevant to the premise.
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 10:46
rashminet84 wrote:

What aknine has said above for D, it is not about what is the consequence of assigning a painting to a well known/unknown painter. The concern of the passage is - whether the painter is correctly identified. D is mostly irrelevant to the premise.

Exactly that is what I am saying. If, as stated in D, a high value is attributed to a painting it can change the perception of the people. If the art is priced high, certain features can be counted as marks of greatness of a major artist, while on the other hand, the same can be considered flaws of a minor artist if priced low. And this would not let the people identify the painter correctly.

I don't quite agree with A because
firstly, 'Art dealers' do not appear anywhere in the passage, so I guess we should try not to add new words and the second reason has already been mentioned by me above.

Please convince me that I am wrong if A is the answer.
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 11:00
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aknine wrote:
Exactly that is what I am saying. If, as stated in D, a high value is attributed to a painting it can change the perception of the people. If the art is priced high, certain features can be counted as marks of greatness of a major artist, while on the other hand, the same can be considered flaws of a minor artist if priced low. And this would not let the people identify the painter correctly.

I don't quite agree with A because
firstly, 'Art dealers' do not appear anywhere in the passage, so I guess we should try not to add new words and the second reason has already been mentioned by me above.

Please convince me that I am wrong if A is the answer.

I totally get why you like D over A. But D is outside the premise of the passage. The first line of the passage says - "It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two or three hundred years ago...is indubitably the work of this or that particular artist"

The entire passage is about identifying a particular painting with the right painter. D talks about one inevitable consequence of such identification, but it DOES NOT talk about pricing. It simply says, that just by knowing that a painting is associated with a famous painter, people will look at it differently from how they would perceive and unknown painter's works. This doesn't justify that the painting should not be rightly identified with the actual painter.

hope its clear
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2009, 22:49
I guess the confusion persists.

Thanks rashmine84 for trying to explain me, but am still getting confused between A and D
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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07 Jul 2009, 23:47
I'll vote for A

(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. -Art dealers are attributing the paintings for their personal benefit. This may not be acceptable to art historians, as it will hamper the art industry and maters' reputation. This also has a potential to become a large scale practice.

(D) Attribution can shape perception inasmuch as certain features that would count as marks of greatness in a master’s work would be counted as signs of inferior artistry if a work were attributed to a minor artist. -Art historians certainly would not want this as well. But my assumption is that, there is no reason for intentional practice of this by Art historians. A few unintentional practice, cannot hamper art industry in such a great extent as "Art Dealers" in option A can do.

I guess I'm not assuming lot of things
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2009, 13:32
aknine wrote:
I guess the confusion persists.

Thanks rashmine84 for trying to explain me, but am still getting confused between A and D

Aknine,

Rashmine's and Bigoyal's explanations are explanatory enough.
But if you are not convinced, I will suggest you follow my Rule of Thumb :
"Wordy and confusing options are never the right answer on GMAT !!"

I know it sounds strange, but that is a perfect remedy to save yourself from getting trapped in situations like these.

P.S. - I used same reasoning as Rashmine to zero in on option A.
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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09 Jul 2009, 23:40
Thanks everyone
I guess, by understanding a bit from one and the remaining from the other... I would go for A now
But, you all have to agree with me that, this was a tough one.. option D actually takes you on a different track which seems to be right.

I guess thats what this exam is about... phew!!!!

God bless everyone.
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Re: It is very difficult to prove today [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2009, 01:59
A well explained bigoyal
Re: It is very difficult to prove today   [#permalink] 23 Jul 2009, 01:59
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# It is very difficult to prove today that a painting done two

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