A 1955 analysis of paint samples from an Italian painting found evidence of cobalt, suggesting the use of cobalt blue...

Claire on May 23 at 07:14PM

Question

Why is the answer A instead of E?

1 Reply

Victoria on May 24 at 09:21PM

Hello @claire_crites,

The passage states that cobalt blue was not used in Europe before the year 1804. A 1955 analysis of paint samples from an Italian painting found evidence of cobalt. Therefore, it was concluded that the painting was produced sometime after 1804.

However, in 2009, an analysis also found cobalt, but suggested that the painting may have been produced before 1804, contradicting the conclusion reached by the 1955 analysis.

This is a paradox question, so we are looking for the answer choice which most helps to explain why the 1955 and 2009 analyses reached different conclusions about the time the painting was produced.

E is incorrect because it does not help to resolve the paradox. The passage states that the 1955 analysis reached their conclusion because cobalt blue was not used in Europe before 1804 and that this conclusion was contradicted by the 2009 analysis. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether cobalt blue was used in Italy following 1804 as the contradiction stems from the fact that cobalt blue was not used prior to 1804.

A is the correct answer because, if a top layer with cobalt blue was added to the painting after it was produced, it is possible that the painting itself was produced prior to 1804 as the original painting did not contain cobalt blue.

Hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any further questions.