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GRE Verbal Practice, Reading Comprehension

Questions 3 and 4 are based on the following passage: 2

Preeminent among the hundreds of thousands of images produced by U.S. government-commissioned photographers during the Great Depression is Dorothea Lange's “Migrant Mother” (1936), an impromptu portrait of an impoverished single mother and farm laborer, shown with her three young children. Lange's image perfectly captures at once a sense of individual worth and of undeserved impoverishment that so many working-class Americans were experiencing at the time. Less obvious than its role in promoting the government's New Deal employment policies was the photograph's class-victimage message. Lange covertly veiled her commentary on class in the image's articulation of gender and family relations and in its allusion to religious imagery: the photograph's compositional similarities to traditional paintings of the Madonna and Child are undeniable.

Lange, a prolific photojournalist, was no doubt concerned chiefly with documenting the plight of working-class people during the Depression. Yet the publication of the "Migrant Mother" and the immediate and extensive publicity surrounding it turned out to mark an important transitional moment in public art. Lange's image is seen as the first significant transcription of the iconic Madonna and Child from painting to photography, and from the Mother of Christ to an anonymous working-class woman. Both shifts demonstrate how traditional iconic images can be translated from religious to secular art and from fine-arts institutions to public media. Indeed, far more has been written about the iconic appeal of the "Migrant Mother" than about its social and political messages.

Question 4

Select the sentence in the passage that best underscores the influence of Lange's "Migrant Mother" within the field of photographic art.

To highlight a sentence for review, hover over it.

(NOTE: During the exam you would ultimately select a sentence as your response by clicking on it and then confirming your selection.)

Explanatory Answer

The second paragraph's second sentence ("Yet the publication....") strongly suggests that Lange's approach — i.e., alluding to iconic religious imagery — has since been embraced by other photographers and visual artists who produce works for the media. To gain credit for a correct answer you would need to select that sentence by clicking on it.