Study in Stone, Cathedral of Orense (No.VIII of the "Spanish Churches")

John Taylor Arms, American, 1887 - 1953



Etching and aquatint on wove paper

Plate: 7 1/2 × 5 9/16 in. (19 × 14.2 cm)

Sheet: 13 7/8 × 10 7/16 in. (35.2 × 26.5 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Mrs. Norman Williams, in memory of her grandson, Edwin Henry Parkhurst III, Class of 1957



Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Inscribed, in graphite, lower left margin: Trial proof IV II [II in superscript] / Private collection "e"; signed and dated, in graphite, lower right margin: John Taylor Arms - 1933; inscribed, in graphite, lower right: wt *


Intricately carved details overwhelm and convey the weight of this cathedral portal. The looming archways, larger-than-life stone saints carved into the facade, and other architectural intricacies express religious devotion and captured John Taylor Arms’s imagination. He viewed them as "the most significant expression of man’s aspirations." Built in the 12th century, the Cathedral of Orense served as an important point for pilgrims traveling through Spain on the Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James, a medieval pilgrimage route to the shrine of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela.

Look closely to find a figure framed in the doorway and staring into the blackness within the cathedral. Dwarfed by the gothic architecture, the person is caught in a moment of rest and contemplation. What might we wonder about the experience of this sole living figure who lingers at the threshold?

From the 2022 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 108, Journeys Beyond: Faces and Forms of Pilgrimage, curated by Emily Charland '19, Erbe Intern

Exhibition History

A Space for Dialogue 108, Journeys Beyond: Faces and Forms of Pilgrimage, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover New Hampshire, August 27 - October 22, 2022.


Margaret Bright Williams (1888-1984), Woodstock, Vermont, given to present collection, 1958 [in memory of her grandson, Edwin Henry Parkhurst III (1936-1954), Class of 1957].

Catalogue Raisonne

Fletcher 257; NYPL 259

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