IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 22

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Animal Paintings

A new exhibition in London traces the history of animal painting in Europe from the anatomically inaccurate to the highly sentimental. The first picture you see in the exhibition, “Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals” (1750-1900) is an artist’s interpretation of what appears to be a giraffe. Painted in about 1785, the creature in it has the neck of a giraffe, but its back is too long, its haunches too developed, and its legs are out of proportion to its body. Like most Europeans in the 18th century, the anonymous French artist who painted it had never seen a real giraffe. He relied on eyewitness descriptions, and on the skin of a giraffe, the scientist and adventurer François Levelland had recently brought back from South Africa.

Exotic animals shipped back to Europe at this time usually died soon after arrival, even supposing they survived the voyage. Until about 1900, taxidermy consisted of stuffing the carcass with straw, so the results fell apart after a few years. This meant that ordinary men and women had very few opportunities to see exotic animals at first hand until the establishment of the first zoos, first in Paris in 1793, and then in London in 1818. For an accurate depiction of a giraffe, Europeans had to wait until 1827 and the arrival of the first living specimen, when the Swiss artist Jacques-Laurent Agasse painted his lovely study of the Nubian giraffe sent to King George IV by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt.

For most people in the 18th century, animals meant farm animals, carriage horses, and food for the table. But the Enlightenment was an age both of exploration and of discovery, as more and more species of animals, birds, fish, and insects were identified and brought back from the South Seas, Africa and India. In 1740, almost 600 species of animals were known to science. One hundred years later, the number had risen to 2,400, including many that are familiar to most children today, such as the ostrich, rhino, orangutan, and buffalo.

Kings and princes had their own menageries, or private animal collections, and wealthy collectors added rare birds, fish, and mammals (shown side-by-side with two-headed calves and fake dragons) to their cabinets of curiosities. In this way, the forerunners of modern zoos and museums developed along parallel lines. On special occasions, an entrepreneur might exhibit a wild beast to the paying public, as was the case when the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi painted bored masqueraders at carnival time gawping at a pathetic rhinoceros. Out of such displays came another invention of the 19th century, the circus.

Wider knowledge of the animal kingdom came with the publication of George-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon’s multi-volume “Histoire Naturelle,” French for natural science (1749-88). Based on specimens studied in the royal menageries, this remarkable book is still treasured, though not for its scientific accuracy, but for its glorious hand-colored engravings. Far too expensive for most people to buy, at the very least, the book helped to make men and women aware of the beauty of certain animals, as we can see in a service of Sèvres porcelain created in 1793, where the decorative motifs are taken from the birds drawn by de Buffon.

Gradually, humans began to notice that less-intelligent creatures can also have feelings. Man cannot afford to feel pity for an animal bred for food. When artist Jean-Baptise Oudry depicted animals killed by hunters in the 1740s, he was simply painting a symbol of luxury. At that time, fresh meat was available only to the well-off, while poor peasants ate bread. His lavish paintings were considered suitable for the dining rooms of the nobility because no one then expressed the slightest ethical or moral hesitation about hunting and killing the rabbit, deer, and boar for the table, or about slaughtering such vermin as foxes and wolves.

Domestic animals were a different story. When Oudry depicts a hound with her newborn puppies, the simple picture has revolutionary undertones. The mother fox notices that two of her pups have fallen asleep and are not getting the nourishment they need, symbolizing a caring maternal figure. At a time when French noblewomen still sent their babies out to wet-nurses, even an animal is shown to display true maternal instincts. And in 1824, the year Delacroix shows two horses killed in battle, man’s attitude towards the senseless slaughter of beautiful creatures shifts towards compassion. Delacroix’s little masterpiece pierces the heart, whereas a recent memorial unveiled in London to remember animals killed in war leaves the viewer cold. However, the moral impulse behind the creation of both works is exactly the same.

Once people recognize animals for their innocence or good nature, it becomes more difficult to treat them cruelly. Almost 15 years before Jean-Baptise Greuze painted a picture of a young girl mourning her pet sparrow (1765), William Hogarth published his series of prints, the “Stages of Cruelty,” showing how the mistreatment of animals inevitably leads to the devaluing of all forms of life, including human. This is why it is almost impossible for most to look at Emile Edouard Mouchy’s horrifying depiction of the vivisection of a dog (1832) without wincing. Though such experiments represent a necessary evil, our horrified reaction represents a step forward in the evolution of mankind.

This process started in the early 19th century when men began to see in the animal kingdom as a mirror image of their own feelings. In his portrayal of a horse frightened by lightning, Gericault lets us see the animal’s tensed body, foam-flecked mouth, and brow furrowed in anxiety. In “The Jealous Lioness” (approximately 1880), the German artist Paul Meyerheim shows a caged lioness enraged at the attention her mate is paying to a beautiful lion tamer.

Gradually, the distinctions between animal and human became unclear for artisits. When Edwin Landseer in “High Life and Low Life” contrasts a mongrel guard dog with a deerhound, the animals are surrogates for their absent masters, a butcher, and a nobleman. All these artists emphasized the physical and emotional resemblances between animals and human beings.

This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-14.
Questions 1-3
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 1-3 on your answer sheet.

1. The porcelain created in 1793 is mentioned as an example of?

2. What does Delacroix’s 1824 painting depict?

3. Gradually, artists began to blur the distinctions between….

Questions 4-11
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 4-11 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this.

4. A new exhibition in London displays modern paintings of beautiful animals.

5. There were no accurate paintings of giraffes in Europe until 1827.

6. The extent to which knowledge of animals increased in the 18th century.

7. Most exotic animals sent to wealthy people in Europe were from Africa.

8. Exotic animals sent to Europe usually lived in the menageries of wealthy families.

9. Greuze’s 1765 painting claims mistreatment of animals leads to devaluing human life.

10. Paintings from the 18th century depict dead animals as a sign of wealth and success.

11. Most artists believe that some animals are more valuable than others.

Questions 12-14
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-F from the box below.

Write the correct letter A-F in boxes 12-14 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

  1. has an identical purpose to that of another work of art.
  2. portrays the feelings creatures can have towards humans.
  3. depicts similarities between creatures and people.
  4. contrasts animal behaviour with human behaviour.
  5. makes a moral point about human behaviour.
  6. shows a human’s feelings for a creature.

12. Hogarth’s series of prints…

13. Delacroix’s 1824 painting…

14. Landseer’s pair of paintings High Life and Low Life..


Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Animal Paintings

A new exhibition in London traces the history of animal painting in Europe from the anatomically inaccurate to the highly sentimental. The first picture you see in the exhibition, “Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals” (1750-1900) is an artist’s interpretation of what appears to be a giraffe. Painted in about 1785, the creature in it has the neck of a giraffe, but its back is too long, its haunches too developed, and its legs are out of proportion to its body. Like most Europeans in the 18th century, the anonymous French artist who painted it had never seen a real giraffe. He relied on eyewitness descriptions, and on the skin of a giraffe, the scientist and adventurer François Levelland had recently brought back from South Africa.

Exotic animals shipped back to Europe at this time usually died soon after arrival, even supposing they survived the voyage. Until about 1900, taxidermy consisted of stuffing the carcass with straw, so the results fell apart after a few years. This meant that ordinary men and women had very few opportunities to see exotic animals at first hand until the establishment of the first zoos, first in Paris in 1793, and then in London in 1818. For an accurate depiction of a giraffe, Europeans had to wait until 1827 and the arrival of the first living specimen, when the Swiss artist Jacques-Laurent Agasse painted his lovely study of the Nubian giraffe sent to King George IV by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt.

For most people in the 18th century, animals meant farm animals, carriage horses, and food for the table. But the Enlightenment was an age both of exploration and of discovery, as more and more species of animals, birds, fish, and insects were identified and brought back from the South Seas, Africa and India. In 1740, almost 600 species of animals were known to science. One hundred years later, the number had risen to 2,400, including many that are familiar to most children today, such as the ostrich, rhino, orangutan, and buffalo.

Kings and princes had their own menageries, or private animal collections, and wealthy collectors added rare birds, fish, and mammals (shown side-by-side with two-headed calves and fake dragons) to their cabinets of curiosities. In this way, the forerunners of modern zoos and museums developed along parallel lines. On special occasions, an entrepreneur might exhibit a wild beast to the paying public, as was the case when the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi painted bored masqueraders at carnival time gawping at a pathetic rhinoceros. Out of such displays came another invention of the 19th century, the circus.

Wider knowledge of the animal kingdom came with the publication of George-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon’s multi-volume “Histoire Naturelle,” French for natural science (1749-88). Based on specimens studied in the royal menageries, this remarkable book is still treasured, though not for its scientific accuracy, but for its glorious hand-colored engravings. Far too expensive for most people to buy, at the very least, the book helped to make men and women aware of the beauty of certain animals, as we can see in a service of Sèvres porcelain created in 1793, where the decorative motifs are taken from the birds drawn by de Buffon.

Gradually, humans began to notice that less-intelligent creatures can also have feelings. Man cannot afford to feel pity for an animal bred for food. When artist Jean-Baptise Oudry depicted animals killed by hunters in the 1740s, he was simply painting a symbol of luxury. At that time, fresh meat was available only to the well-off, while poor peasants ate bread. His lavish paintings were considered suitable for the dining rooms of the nobility because no one then expressed the slightest ethical or moral hesitation about hunting and killing the rabbit, deer, and boar for the table, or about slaughtering such vermin as foxes and wolves.

Domestic animals were a different story. When Oudry depicts a hound with her newborn puppies, the simple picture has revolutionary undertones. The mother fox notices that two of her pups have fallen asleep and are not getting the nourishment they need, symbolizing a caring maternal figure. At a time when French noblewomen still sent their babies out to wet-nurses, even an animal is shown to display true maternal instincts. And in 1824, the year Delacroix shows two horses killed in battle, man’s attitude towards the senseless slaughter of beautiful creatures shifts towards compassion. Delacroix’s little masterpiece pierces the heart, whereas a recent memorial unveiled in London to remember animals killed in war leaves the viewer cold. However, the moral impulse behind the creation of both works is exactly the same.

Once people recognize animals for their innocence or good nature, it becomes more difficult to treat them cruelly. Almost 15 years before Jean-Baptise Greuze painted a picture of a young girl mourning her pet sparrow (1765), William Hogarth published his series of prints, the “Stages of Cruelty,” showing how the mistreatment of animals inevitably leads to the devaluing of all forms of life, including human. This is why it is almost impossible for most to look at Emile Edouard Mouchy’s horrifying depiction of the vivisection of a dog (1832) without wincing. Though such experiments represent a necessary evil, our horrified reaction represents a step forward in the evolution of mankind.

This process started in the early 19th century when men began to see in the animal kingdom as a mirror image of their own feelings. In his portrayal of a horse frightened by lightning, Gericault lets us see the animal’s tensed body, foam-flecked mouth, and brow furrowed in anxiety. In “The Jealous Lioness” (approximately 1880), the German artist Paul Meyerheim shows a caged lioness enraged at the attention her mate is paying to a beautiful lion tamer.

Gradually, the distinctions between animal and human became unclear for artisits. When Edwin Landseer in “High Life and Low Life” contrasts a mongrel guard dog with a deerhound, the animals are surrogates for their absent masters, a butcher, and a nobleman. All these artists emphasized the physical and emotional resemblances between animals and human beings.

 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.

Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.

    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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