Question 21

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

There's a common idea that museum artworks are somehow timeless objects available to admire for generations to come. But many are objects of decay. Even the most venerable Old Master paintings don't escape: pigments discolour, varnishes crack, canvases warp. This challenging fact of art-world life is down to something that sounds more like a thread from a morality tale: inherent vice. Damien Hirst's iconic shark floating in a tank - entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living - is a work that put a spotlight on inherent vice. When he made it in 1991, Hirst got himself in a pickle by not using the right kind of pickle to preserve the giant fish. The result was that the shark began to decompose quite quickly - its preserving liquid clouding, the skin wrinkling, and an unpleasant smell wafting from the tank.


The passage is about the 'inherent vice' or the natural tendency of certain artworks to deteriorate over time due to various factors such as discolouration of pigments, cracking of varnishes, and warping of canvases. The passage also mentions an example of Damien Hirst's artwork, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which began to decompose quickly due to the use of the wrong preserving liquid. In this regard, Option D offers an apt summary of the passage because it accurately captures the main idea of the passage, which is that artworks may not last forever and may deteriorate with time. Option A is incorrect because the passage does not mention any moral responsibility of museums to restore and preserve artworks. Similarly, Option B can be eliminated since the passage does not specifically mention museums guarding art treasures from intrinsic defects. Option C is also inaccurate because the discussion does not present the evolution of the role of museums in preserving artworks forever.

Hence, Option D is the correct choice. 

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