John Taylor Arms (1887-1953) was an American etcher and draftsman who was one of the most famous printmakers of the early 20th century. Because of his admiration for Gothic architecture, Arms is most well known for his renderings of Gargoyles and European churches as well as his medieval European architecture. Arms studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is no doubt why his architectural drawings and etchings are so astonishing.
This particular etching, French Lace, is precise and detailed. French Lace was etched in 1949 and it depicts the west portal of the main façade of the Church of Notre-Dame. Through this piece one can see how passionate Arms was about the art of architecture. Arms allows the viewer to see the classical medieval architecture through his point of view. This etching reminds us how architecture will always be a “modern” work of art. No matter what the trend in the art world is, architecture is always current and astonishing to the viewer. The church of Notre-Dame, The Eiffel Tower, The Statue of Liberty, as well as many other amazing works of architecture, will always catch the viewer’s eye and leave him or her in awe of the detail and structure. Arms’ French Lace shows the complexity and detail of the structure of the church. Because Arms studied architecture, the viewer can appreciate the fact that he did not just find the church beautiful, he was able to appreciate its structure and form down to the smallest detail. He was also able to understand the work that went into building the church. The viewer is able to see his love of the art of the architecture.
Author Becka Core is a senior enrolled in ART 3683: History of 20th Century Art.