The Small Cone, from the S.E. Summit of the Great Cone

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This depiction of Mount Vesuvius represents Romantic culture’s new, more scientific approach to volcanoes, which began to be seen as an attraction for volcanologists and tourists alike. As demonstrated by the human figure—who appears to be performing a hands-on investigation of sputtering lava—the image shows that one can successfully study volcanoes in action. Before this image, Romantic culture was primarily concerned with the volcanoe as an emblem of death and destruction. However, as this engraving suggests, a curiosity grounded in science and notions of the picturesque began to emerge regarding volcanoes and their eruptions.