The Briars St. Helena

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Item Description: 

This image of Mount Helena marks a turning point for volcanic depictions in Romantic culture. The fear and awe once evoked by images of rampant volcanoes is little more; instead, Mount Helena is seen as powerless and at rest. One could draw a political parallel to Napoleon as he is also “at rest,” lacking the power he once possessed. The volcano is distant and appears as an afterthought in the image. Because scientists knew that the volcano had become extinct, the image does not give any sense of anxiety that it will erupt. Instead, the knowledge gained by volcanologists of the time has contributed to a scenic—not fear-inducing—view of Mount Helena.