SAT Writing and Language - OG 2016 - test 3 - More than One Way to Dress a Cat

Questions 34-44 are based on the following passage.

More than One Way to Dress a Cat

From Michelangelo’s David to Vincent van Gogh’s series of self-portraits to Grant Wood’s iconic image of a farming couple in American Q34 Gothic. These works by human artists have favored representations of members of their own species to those of other species. Indeed, when we think about animals depicted in well-known works of art, the image of dogs playing poker—popularized in a series of paintings by American artist C. M. Q35 Coolidge, may be the first and only one that comes to mind. Yet some of the earliest known works of art, including paintings and drawings tens of thousands of years old found on cave walls in Spain and France, Q36 portrays animals. Nor has artistic homage to our fellow creatures entirely died out in the millennia since, Q37 despite the many years that have passed between then and now.

[1] The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s greatest art museums, has long had a productive partnership with a much loved animal: the cat. [2] For centuries, cats have guarded this famous museum, ridding it of mice, rats, and other rodents that could damage the art, not to mention Q38 scared off visitors. [3] Peter the Great introduced the first cat to the Hermitage in the early eighteenth century. [4] Later Catherine the Great declared the cats to be official guardians of the galleries. [5] Continuing the tradition, Peter’s daughter Elizaveta introduced the best and strongest cats in Russia to the Hermitage. [6] Today, the museum holds a yearly festival honoring these faithful workers. Q39

These cats are so cherished by the museum that officials recently Q40 decreed original paintings to be made of six of them. In each, a cat is depicted upright in a humanlike pose and clothed in imperial-era Russian attire. The person chosen for this Q41 task, digital artist, Eldar Zakirov painted the cats in the style traditionally used by portrait artists, in so doing Q42 presenting the cats as noble individuals worthy of respect. One portrait, The Hermitage Court Chamber Herald Cat, includes an aristocratic tilt of feline ears as well as a stately sweep of tail emerging from the stiff scarlet and gold of royal court dress. The wise, thoughtful green eyes of the subject of The Hermitage Court Outrunner Cat mimic those of a trusted royal advisor. Q43 Some may find it peculiar to observe cats portrayed in formal court poses, but these felines, by Q44 mastering the art of killing mice and rats, are benefactors of the museum as important as any human.

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