GRE Reading Comprehension: JiJing 352-GRE阅读机经352篇 - 09LSV3N4MI3I3F2QK

Paintings of property – anything that was possessed – such as those created by eighteenth-century British painter George Stubbs were condemned by several of Stubbs's contemporaries: objects thus "individualized" would appeal to our appetite to own and enjoy them, whereas "generalized" objects in other paintings were no longer merely things but abstract ideas. To collect or commission paintings displaying lofty unconcern with materiality was considered by these commentators a mark of taste and civic virtue, the ability to subordinate private material interests to the abstract, public interest. Yet this notion of disinterested taste and virtue was founded on private interest: it was because the "public" man or woman already owned enough that he or she was presumed to be free from the urge to own more. Political power and status were thus based on the ownership of property, while at the same time they were legitimated by the claim that the avaricious behavior associated with the acquisition of property was somehow transcended by those who had already acquired it.