In this portrait of La Madeleine there are no extraneous motifs from the daily life of the secular world to detract attention from the almost hallucinatory clarity and precision with which the church is delineated. The flamboyant Gothic tower with its octagonal lantern and Renaissance porch are drawn with absolute accuracy. Each stone, sprocket, lacelike line of tracery, and statue are a testament to Arms’s infinite patience using linework so fine that much is visible only with magnification (magnifying glasses are available in both galleries). Arms explains that he attempted to “record mass and detail, textures and chiaroscuro, as I have seen them . . . to state, in terms as lucid, comprehensive, and intelligible as lay within my power, exactly what moved me so deeply.”
French Church Series No. 41: Aspiration, La Madeleine, Verneuil-Sur-Avre
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