TOEFL Readings 1
With Robert Laurent and William Zorach, direct carving enters into the story of
modern sculpture in the United States. Direct carving ― in which the sculptors
themselves carve stone or wood with mallet and chisel ― must be recognized as
Line something more than just a technique. Implicit in it is an aesthetic principle as well :
(5) that the medium has certain qualities of beauty and expressiveness with which
sculptors must bring their own aesthetic sensibilities into harmony. For example,
sometimes the shape or veining in a piece of stone or wood suggests, perhaps even
dictates, not only the ultimate form, but even the subject matter.
The technique of direct carving was a break with the nineteenth-century tradition in
(10) which the making of a clay model was considered the creative act and the work was
then turned over to studio assistants to be cast in plaster or bronze or carved in marble. Neoclassical sculptors seldom held a mallet or chisel in their own hands, readily
conceding that the assistants they employed were far better than they were at carving
the finished marble.
(15) With the turn-of-the-century Crafts movement and the discovery of nontraditional
sources of inspiration, such as wooden African figures and masks, there arose a new
urge for hands-on, personal execution of art and an interaction with the medium. Even
as early as the 1880's and 1890's, nonconformist European artists were attempting
direct carving. By the second decade of the twentieth century, Americans ― Laurent
(20) and Zorach most notably ― had adopted it as their primary means of working.
Born in France, Robert Laurent(1890-1970)was a prodigy who received his
education in the United States. In 1905 he was sent to Paris as an apprentice to an art
dealer, and in the years that followed he witnessed the birth of Cubism, discovered
primitive art, and learned the techniques of woodcarving from a frame maker.
(25) Back in New York City by 1910, Laurent began carving pieces such as The
Priestess, which reveals his fascination with African, pre-Columbian, and South
Pacific art. Taking a walnut plank, the sculptor carved the expressive, stylized design.
It is one of the earliest examples of direct carving in American sculpture. The plank's
form dictated the rigidly frontal view and the low relief. Even its irregular shape must
(30) have appealed to Laurent as a break with a long-standing tradition that required a
sculptor to work within a perfect rectangle or square.
1. The word “medium”in line 5 could be used to refer to
(A) stone or wood
(B) mallet and chisel
2. What is one of the fundamental principles of direct carving?
(A) A sculptor must work with talented assistants.
(B) The subject of a sculpture should be derived from classical stories.
(C) The material is an important element in a sculpture.
(D) Designing a sculpture is a more creative activity than carving it.
3. The word “dictates” in line 8 is closest in meaning to
(A) reads aloud (B) determines
(C) includes (D) records
4. How does direct carving differ from the nineteenth-century tradition
(A) Sculptors are personally involved in the carving of a piece.
(B) Sculptors find their inspiration in neoclassical sources.
(C) Sculptors have replaced the mallet and chisel with other tools.
(D) Sculptors receive more formal training.
5.The word “witnessed” in line 23 is closest in meaning to
6. Where did Robert Laurent learn to carve?
(A) New York
(C) The South Pacific
7. The phrase “a break with ”in line 30 is closest in meaning to
(A) a destruction of
(B) a departure from
(C) a collapse of
(D) a solution to
8. The piece titled The Priestess has all of the following characteristics EXCEPT
(A) The design is stylized.
(B) It is made of marble.
(C) The carving is not deep.
(D) It depicts the front of a person.
1. A 2. C 3. B 4. A 5. D 6. D 7. B 8. B