Fine-art objects are not constructed by the laws of physics in the same way that applied-art objects are. Because their primary purpose is not functional, they are only limited in terms of the materials used to make them. Sculptures must, for example, be stable, which requires an understanding of the properties of mass, weight distribution, and stress. Paintings must have rigid stretchers so that the canvas will be taut, and the paint must not crack, deteriorate, or discolor. These are problems that must be overcome by the artist because they tend to intrude upon his or her conception of the work. For example, in the early Italian Renaissance, bronze statues of horses with a raised foreleg usually had a cannonball under that hoof. This was done because the cannonball was needed to support the weight of the leg. In other words, the demand of the laws of physics, not the sculptor’s aesthetic intentions, placed the ball there. That this device was a necessary structural compromise is clear from the fact that the cannonball disappeared when sculptors learned how to strengthen the internal structure of a statue with iron braces (iron being much stronger than bronze).
Why does the author discuss the bronze statues of horses created by artists in the early Italian Renaissance?
A. To provide an example of a problem related to the laws of physics that an artist tries to overcome.
B. To argue that fine artists are unconcerned with the laws of physics
C. To contrast the relative sophistication of modern artists in solving problems related to the laws of physics
D. To note an exceptional piece of art constructed without the aid of technology
正确答案是A。这一端是一个完整篇章的节选，完整的文章参见本书第18页的文章。这篇文章从多个角度分析了applied-art object和fine-art object的不同。如果读一下全文，我们会知道本题中的这一段是从laws of physics(物理规律)是如何在这两类艺术品上应用的，具体的讲，这一段是讲物理规律是如何应用在fine-art object上的。
这一段的第一、二句话告诉我们：“fine-art objects在应用物理规律时是与applied-art objects不同的。与applied-art objects不同，fine-art objects在应用物理规律时不注重功能，更加关注的是材料的使用”。这些信息就排除了选项B，因为在制作fine-art objects的时候艺术家们也是要关注物理规律的，只是从功能转到了材料应用上。在接下来的几句中，作者提供的是具体的细节，考生完全没有必要太拘泥于理解细节中的每一个词，相反，考生应该通过这接下来的几句话了解到一下信息：为了使雕塑作品稳定，艺术家必须了解properties of mass, weight distribution, and stress这些物理规律。画家也必须了解一些物理规律，这样才能使自己的画避免 “canvas will be taut, and the paint must not crack, deteriorate, or discolor”这样的损害。在讲完这两个细节之后，作者说“These are problems that must be overcome by the artist because they tend to intrude upon his or her conception of the work”，“这些问题是艺术家在完成作品是必须克服的”。然后用for example来带出一个具体的例子，这也是细节。而引用这个例子的目的就是为了说明“这些问题是艺术家在完成作品是必须克服的”，所以显而易见的是符合选项A。