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June 2007, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 25


Question 25. When a question asks you to help explain something, we call that a paradox question. The thing we need to explain is a weird situation, a discrepancy, something that doesn't seem like it makes sense. In order to do that we need to understand what the discrepancy is.

Now on this question, the question stem provides a little bit more information than usual because it lays out half of the discrepancy. That is, there is a difference between the amount of innovation in French painting and the amount of innovation in French sculpture during the 19th century. So we need to know why it's weird that there's a difference there. To do that we're gonna have to read the stimulus.

The first sentence tells us that during the 19th century, the French Academy of Art was a sponsor of both painting and sculpture in France, because sponsorship by private individuals had gone down a lot. The second sentence tells us that the academy discouraged innovation. And because of that, there was very little innovation in 19th-century French sculpture.

But on the flip side, 19th-century painting showed a remarkable degree of innovation. So the paradox here is both the sculpture and the painting were getting their funding from the French Academy. The French Academy had strings attached, they discouraged innovation. So even though they both got their funding there, it seems to have affected the sculptors more than the painters.

Why is that? So we go to the answer choices looking for something that would explain why. Answer choice A, in France in the nineteenth century, the French academy gave more of its financial support to painting than it did to sculpture. Well, if it gave more to painting that makes it harder to understand why the painters were still more innovative than the sculptors.

If they were getting more money and the money tended to make you less innovative, then it would seem like they would be the less innovative ones, not the more innovative ones. So let's go see B, the French academy in the nineteenth century financially supported a greater number of sculptors than painters, but individual painters received more support on average than individual sculptors.

This is the same thing as a, the painters are getting more support. Support makes you less innovative. And yet the painters are more innovative than the sculptors. It doesn't explain why, it makes it harder to understand. So go to answer choice C. Because stone was so much more expensive than paint and canvas, far more unsponsored paintings were produced, than were unsponsored sculptures in France during the nineteenth century.

Now this explains why it is that the painters were more innovative. Apparently, although they did get funding from the academy, they weren't as reliant on that funding. They could produce things without the funding, so they could still innovate. Whereas the sculptors they had to take that money from the academy, which made them less innovative.

Answer choice C explains the situation. So let's just glance at D and E to see why they're not right. So D, very few of the artists in France in the nineteenth century who produced sculptures also produced paintings. This tells us that you tended to specialize in one over the other. So if you were a painter, you didn't tend to sculpt.

If you were a sculptor you didn't tend to paint. That doesn't explain why innovation was primarily a painting thing. So answer choice D doesn't help explain the discrepancy and E, well, E applies to both sculptors and painters. So although the academy was the primary sponsor, the total amount of support was declining during the nineteenth century but declining for both sculptors and painters.

Since it's happening to both of them, it can't explain why it is that the painters are more innovative than the sculptors. So answer choice C is our answer.

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