The passage provides the strongest support for inferring that Lessing holds which one of the following views?

sadaabrahman on September 14, 2019

Choice E

Why would that not work?

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zgnewquist on October 4, 2019

I got the same question wrong. I see how A is correct but could you all post an explanation?

shunhe on December 31, 2019

Hi @sadaabrahman and @zgnewquist,

We need to look for something in the passage that supports one of the answer choices about Lessing's views, which start on line 29 of the passage. Lessing seems to believe that forged works of art aren't necessarily aesthetically inferior because they are forged pieces; indeed, van Meegeren's work was an aesthetically pleasing piece (lines 32-35). But if Lessing believes this, then surely critics who called "The Disciples of Emmaus" an aesthetically superb piece couldn't have been wrong about its aesthetic qualities because the painting was later revealed to be a forgery. This is in essence that (A) states, and so (A) is correct.

(E) isn't correct because there isn't really support for it in the passage. Nowhere does it talk about Lessing's beliefs on works of art with little or no aesthetic value, as the piece here clearly did have aesthetic value. Nor does it expound on his philosophy of what characterizes great achievements of art, other than the fact that historical significance and origination of a new vision is an important component. How big a role aesthetic value plays isn't discussed, and so (E) is wrong. Hope this helps!