AP European History : Literature and Art

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP European History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #75 : Cultural And Intellectual History

Charles Dickens was widely read by the masses in the nineteenth century thanks to all of the following EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

memorable characters based on well-known figures in society

the use of complex references to classical mythology and history

a serialized format that saw chapters being released on a regular schedule

vivid descriptions of London featured across many different novels

a use of common language familiar to lower classes

Correct answer:

the use of complex references to classical mythology and history

Explanation:

Charles Dickens was by far the most well-known and widely read novelist of the Victorian period in Great Britain, to the point that he was a celebrity on par with any other figure of the time. His work was not just popular among the masses, but also largely about them, as his work featured intriguing characters, descriptions of familiar themes and people, the city of London, and a serialized format of each chapter being published separately in installments. One trend from previous writers that Dickens did not continue was a reliance on complicated classical references.

Example Question #1 : Literature And Art

Which of the following does NOT describe artistic developments during the Italian Renaissance?

Possible Answers:

Artists frequently depicted religious themes in their paintings and sculptures.

Artists avoided creating works that glorified the human body.

Artists began to incorporate elements of classical art into their works.

The artist began to be revered as an individual genius, and was no longer viewed as a mere craftsman.

Individual patrons frequently commissioned artworks in order to exalt themselves or their families.

Correct answer:

Artists avoided creating works that glorified the human body.

Explanation:

The Renaissance represented a revival of Greco-Roman culture, and therefore its art began to reflect classical art and themes, including myths. Nevertheless, religious themes continued to be popular in art. During the Renaissance, the status of the artist increased greatly: individuals such as Michelangelo were widely revered for their artistic genius. Additionally, individual patrons more frequently began to commission art (most famously, the Medici family in Florence); the portrait became a more common genre; and even religious paintings often portrayed the patron and his family. Note that during the Renaissance, the human body began to be depicted in a more naturalistic manner, and was typically glorified. Consider, for example, Michelangelo’s David.

Example Question #2 : Literature And Art

The artistic movement known as Romanticism largely influenced the revolutions of 1848 through its emphasis on __________.

Possible Answers:

ethnic and linguistic national identities

the focus on emotion over reason

the natural world

its opposition to the ideals of the Enlightenment

its love of medieval literature and philosophy

Correct answer:

ethnic and linguistic national identities

Explanation:

Romanticism flourished in the first half of the nineteenth century throughout Europe as a literary movement that reacted against the Englightenment, valued emotion, and lauded both medieval literature and regional identities. This last point was also a huge factor in the burgeoning nationalism of the era, which sought to overthrow traditional autocratic governments and replace them with democratically elected governments that were meant to more accurately reflect their constituencies.

Example Question #3 : Literature And Art

All of these individuals were notable impressionists EXCEPT for __________.

Possible Answers:

Claude Monet

Mary Cassatt

They were all notable impressionists.

Edgar Degas

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Correct answer:

They were all notable impressionists.

Explanation:

Impressionism as an artistic movement emerged in the nineteenth century and was particularly influential in France. All of these individuals were notable impressionists, and Monet is often referred to as the original impressionist. Impressionism focuses on ordinary subject matter, and the use of light. It was initially widely criticized by artistic experts in French and European society for being unrealistic and crude, but it soon gained overwhelming popularity as it spread around the world.

Example Question #4 : Literature And Art

In Persian Letters, the French philosopher Montesquieu __________.

Possible Answers:

launches a scathing attack on the French monarchy by comparing the persecution and suffering in France with the relative liberalism of the Near East

critiques French society through the perspective of two travellers

advocates for the separation of Church and State using the experience of several travellers from the Middle East

compares the various denominations of Christianity with those of Islam

recounts his correspondence with a philosopher from Susa who cannot understand the popularity of the Enlightenment in Europe

Correct answer:

critiques French society through the perspective of two travellers

Explanation:

Persian Letters was published in 1721 by the Enlightenment philosopher Charles de Montesquieu. It employs the perspective of two travellers from the Near East who are visiting France and observing French society. It critiques the nature of French society and Christianity.

Example Question #5 : Literature And Art

Which of the following is a work in which Voltaire mocks religion and the established social and political institutions of the time period?

Possible Answers:

Encyclopedie

In Praise of Folly

Candide

Utopia

The Prince

Correct answer:

Candide

Explanation:

Voltaire was an Enlightenment-era philosopher most famous for his ardent defense of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He clashed frequently with the authorities in France, but was widely influential across Europe. His most famous work, Candide, was published in 1759. It is a satirical attack on religion in Europe and mocks the established political order of the time period.

Example Question #6 : Literature And Art

Charles Dickens’ writings were particularly influential during the __________ because they presented an evocative account of __________.

Possible Answers:

Enlightenment . . . political injustice

Protestant Reformation . . . religious intolerance

Scientific Revolution . . . the Catholic church's ignorance

Industrial Revolution . . . social injustices

Age of Imperialism . . . Social Darwinism

Correct answer:

Industrial Revolution . . . social injustices

Explanation:

Charles Dickens is probably the most famous writer of the Victorian period of British history. His writings coincided with the Industrial Revolution and often focused on portraying social injustices and the arduous lives of the British working class. Famous works by Charles Dickens include Oliver Twist and Hard Times.

Example Question #7 : Literature And Art

In Michel de Montaigne’s Of Cannibals, which of the following is satirized by being compared to cannibalism?

Possible Answers:

the inadequacy of the Divine Right of Kings

the barbaric conditions of European society

religious division during the Reformation period

All of these answers

the impotence of the Scientific Revolution

Correct answer:

the barbaric conditions of European society

Explanation:

Members of a French exploratory voyage to South America in the sixteenth century encountered cannibalistic people living in the Amazon, and a few of them were even brought back to Europe by the expedition. The group was widely sensationalized, but Montaigne’s first-hand experience led him to believe that these people were far less savage and barbaric than the European people around him. In Of Cannibals, he reverses the Eurocentric view of social progress and compares the lives of the cannibals with the barbaric conditions of European society to suggest that the Europeans were the real savages.

Example Question #8 : Literature And Art

Which of the following is an artistic movement that can be understood partially as a backlash against the Rococo movement?

Possible Answers:

Romanticism

Impressionism

Transcendentalism

Neoclassicism

Luminism

Correct answer:

Neoclassicism

Explanation:

The Rococo artistic movement was widely popular in eighteenth century and is characterized by sentimentality and deviations from realism. The Neoclassical movement, which emerged in the late eighteenth century around the time of the French Revolution, is widely understood as a backlash against this movement. Neoclassicism focused on recreating the styles of classical Greece and Rome and valued realism and the accurate representation of the human form.

Example Question #6 : Literature And Art

Which of these works of literature is most famous for outlining the supposed values of a Renaissance man?

Possible Answers:

Declaration on the Rights of Man

The Prince

Utopia

The Book of the Courtier

In Praise of Folly

Correct answer:

The Book of the Courtier

Explanation:

The Book of the Courtier was published in 1528 by the Italian Renaissance writer Baldassare Castiglione. The book outlines the ideal qualities of a Renaissance man and was widely influential in European society. It was particularly influential in British society, where it came to define the correct behavior of a wealthy British gentleman.

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