In all battles two things are usually required of the Commander—in—Chief: to make a good plan for his army and to keep a strong reserve. Both of these are also obligatory for the painter. To make a plan, thorough reconnaissance of the country where the battle is to be fought is needed. Its fields, its mountains, its rivers, its bridges, its trees, its flowers, its atmosphere—all require and repay attentive observation from a special point of view.
I think this is one of the chief delights that have come to me through painting. No doubt many people who are lovers of art have acquired it to a high degree without actually practicing. But I expect that nothing will make one observe more quickly or more thoroughly than having to face the difficulty of representing the thing observed. And mind you, if you do observe accurately and with refinement, and if you do record what you have seen with tolerable correspondence, the result follows on the canvas with startling obedience.
But in order to make his plan, the General must not only reconnoiter the battle—ground; he must also study the achievements of the great Captains of the past. He must bring the observations he has collected in the field into comparison with the treatment of similar incidents by famous chiefs.
Considering that, the galleries of Europe take on a new—and to me at least a severely practical—interest. "This, then, is how —— painted a cataract. Exactly, and there is that same light I noticed last week in the waterfall at ——. " And so on. You see the difficulty that baffled you yesterday; and you see how easily it has been overcome by a great or even by a skillful painter. Not only is your observation of Nature sensibly improved and developed, but also your comprehension of the masterpieces of art.
But it is in the use and withholding of their reserves that the great commanders have generally excelled. After all, when once the last reserve has been thrown in, the commander's part is played. If that does not win the battle, he has nothing else to give. Everything must be left to luck and to the fighting troops. But these last reserves, in the absence of high direction, are apt to get into sad confusion, all mixed together in a nasty mess, without order or plan—and consequently without effect.
Mere masses count no more. The largest brush, the brightest colors cannot even make an impression. The pictorial battlefield becomes a sea of mud mercifully veiled by the fog of war. Even though the General plunges in himself and emerges bespattered, as he sometimes does, he will not retrieve the day. In painting, the reserves consist in Proportion or Relation. And it is here that the art of the painter marches along the road which is traversed by all the greatest harmonies in thought. At one side of the palette there is white, at the other black; and neither is ever used ?neat.' Between these two rigid limits all the action must lie, all the power required must be generated. Black and white themselves placed in juxtaposition make no great impression; and yet they are the most that you can do in pure contrast.
The existence of which of the following would most strongly challenge the author's conception of the process of painting?[A] A watercolor of waves crashing on the beach
[B] A famous artist who has never been in a European art gallery
[C] A medieval masterpiece that portrays the gates of heaven
[D] A commander who retreats hastily when his troops are losing.
As the author creates the analogy between war and painting in the passage, the Commander—in—Chief is to the battleground as the:[A] painter is to the subject being painted.
[B] painter is to the canvas of the painting.
[C] painter is to the paint colors.
[D] painter is to the art gallery.
Following the example of the master Manet, the young Matisse often inserted in his pictures areas of white such as tablecloths or crockery that allowed for striking contrasts with black objects such as a knife or a dark bottle. What is the relevance of this information to the passage?[A] It supports the author's claim that the great artists are worthy of imitation.
[B] It supports the author's claim that neither black nor white is ever used ?neat.'
[C] It weakens the author's claim that black and white themselves placed in juxtaposition make no great impression.
[D] It weakens the author's claim that great painters take Nature as their subject.
The passage suggests that having the finest art supplies at hand may NOT always be helpful to a painter because:[A] the painter may not feel creatively inspired.
[B] nothing can make up for a lack of sense of proportion.
[C] the quality of a painting's colors may not make an impression on the viewer.
[D] painting is in the final analysis a matter of luck.
Below are listed various opinions that might possibly be ascribed to the author. Based on the passage, which of the following could most reasonably be attributed to the author?[A] Becoming an artist is a matter of training rather than talent.
[B] One learns more from failures than from successes.
[C] Modern artists can scarcely hope to equal the achievements of the masters.
[D] One can convey ideas about art through analogies of other experiences.
The author's statement "But [the fighting troops], in the absence of high direction, are apt to get into sad confusion, all mixed together in a nasty mess, without order or plan—and consequently without effect " (lines 40—43) assumes that:[A] chaotic painting cannot have an unintended artistic effect.
[B] an artist naturally resists direction from another individual.
[C] a painting cannot help but reflect the mental state of its painter.
[D] it is impossible for painters to collaborate on a work without confusion.