IMAT 2020 Q7 [Assumption | England]

In 1938 the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian left Paris to escape the threat of German invasion and went to live in London, where he painted what are now regarded as his best works. Mondrian had the option of moving to a more rural area in England, but chose London because of his love of the diverse and vibrant culture of big cities. This explains why London has more artists living in it than any other city in England.

Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the above passage?

A. London is a big city because all the artists who live there boost its size and population.

B. There is less inspiration for artists in rural areas.

C. Artists can only create great works if they are happy and relaxed.

D. Other big cities in England have the same attractive features as London.

E. Other artists make the same choice as Mondrian for the same reasons.

Steps for solving assumptions:

  • Identify the question type. Although not phrased in the typical Cambridge format (“What is the assumption in the argument…”) we can easily identify that it is asking for an assumption.
  • Strategy Tool Kit for solving assumptions
  • Find the conclusions
  • Find the reasons
  • Find the unwritten link that the conclusion relies on
  • Discard and decide (use negation test if needed)

After reading over the text, we can find a disconnect in the last sentence because it generalizes the views of one artist onto other artists. The generalization is that London has more artists due to it being a diverse and vibrant cultured big city. The problem with this is that we cannot know why there are so many artists in London, so projecting the reasons of Mondrian onto a group (artists) is flawed and therefore must be assumed. Now that we have broken this down, let’s look at the answers:

A London is a big city because all the artists who live there boost its size and population.

This does not really make sense, we are told that London is a big city but we are not told why. We are also told that there are more artists living in it than in other cities, but since we are not given numbers, we cannot make assumptions about how the artists contribute to the population of London as it could still only make up a tiny fraction. Therefore A is incorrect.

B There is less inspiration for artists in rural areas.

This cannot be assumed from the text, we are told Mondrian’s reasons and inspirations for moving to a big city but it does not contrast it with the reasons to move to rural areas. It neither says it is full of inspiration nor lacking it. Mondrian is attracted to the city for its diverse and vibrant culture, but there are many different kinds of inspiration. Because it is not specified and cannot be assumed, B is incorrect.

C Artists can only create great works if they are happy and relaxed.

This is not something we can see in the text, nor is it something the text can lead us to assume. We are not even told if Mondrian likes to be happy and relaxed, for all we know the chaos of the big city also helps him create works. Therefore C is incorrect.

D Other big cities in England have the same attractive features as London.

This again is something we cannot assume, and if anything we would say the opposite. We are not told about the other cities, besides the fact that they have fewer artists than London. the problem with this is that we do not know the population sizes of the cities and therefore another city could have a higher proportion of artists but fewer artists since their city population isn’t as large as London’s. Therefore D is incorrect.

E Other artists make the same choice as Mondrian for the same reasons.

If this was false, then the diverse and vibrant culture of big cities that Mondrian loves would not be the reason that other artists are in London. Maybe they chose it for other reasons or were born there so do not have a choice to be there. Therefore E is the correct answer because if false, it blows up the author’s statement at the end: ‘This explains why London has more artists living in it than any other city in England.’