Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/881

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861
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

in the form of rills, teeth, fissures, and pinnacles. The travelers frequently broke through as far as their breasts, with an alarmingly rapid diminution of their strength. Reaching the summit of the ridge, they found the precipitous walls of a gigantic crater yawning beneath them, with the loftiest elevations in the shape of three pinnacles rising above the ice on its southern brim. These they calmly and systematically climbed one after the other. The central pinnacle reached a height of about 19,700 feet, overtopping the others by 50 or 60 feet. Dr. Meyer was the first to tread this peak, and planted the German flag upon it, christening it Kaiser Wilhelm's Peak. The diameter of the crater measured about 6,500 feet, and its depth was about 600 feet. In the southern portion the walls of lava were of an ash-gray or reddish-brown color, and were free from ice; in its northern half the ice sloped downward from the upper brim of the crater in terraces, forming blue and white galleries of varying steepness. A rounded cone of eruption, composed of brown ashes and lava, rose in the northern portion of the crater to a height of about 500 feet, which was partly covered by the more than usually thick sheet of ice extending from the northern brim of the crater. The large crater opened westward in a wide cleft, through which the melting water ran off, and the ice lying upon the western part of the crater and the inner walls issued in the form of a glacier.

 

Artists in Humble Work.—Among the ancient Greeks and the northern Italians of Renaissance days, says Prof. G. Aitchison, in a lecture on Decoration, beauty was adored. Every man who practiced a craft was as sure of fame, if he followed what we now call a humble one, as if he followed a noble one, provided that the articles he made could be endowed with beauty, and that he possessed a certain high degree of excellence. A carpenter, an armorer, a potter, a goldsmith, a lapidary, or a bronzer, was as certain to be famous as a sculptor, a statuary, a painter, or an architect. We naturally know less about the ancient Greeks than about the Italians, though, from Socrates being a sculptor, we hear something of the crafts, and we know that Phidias was not only a sculptor and statuary, . . . but worked also in ivory and gold. The great Italian artists were almost invariably craftsmen as well; in fact, had begun as craftsmen and had learned during their apprenticeship precision in the use of tools and in workmanship as well as precision in drawing and modeling. As a rule, every youth who wanted to be a painter, sculptor, or architect, was apprenticed to a goldsmith. Brunelleschi, Michael Angelo, and Benvenuto Cellini were all brought up as goldsmiths; one became an architect, one a sculptor and painter, and one a statuary and die-sinker; Ghirlandaio got his name from the golden wreaths he made, and Francia. . . signed his pictures as a goldsmith, while he signed his goldsmith's work as a painter, and, like the French artists of the present day, these artist craftsmen were often excellent shots and swordsmen as well. If he can invest the article he works at with the highest form of beauty, he is just as much an artist as he who paints a picture, models a statue, or designs a building."

 

Messrs. Heilprin and Baker's Survey of Mexico.—Prof. Angelo Heilprin and Mr. Frank C. Baker have recently returned from a scientific expedition to Mexico, which they undertook in February, 1890, in connection with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and are preparing a paper giving the results of their explorations. It is represented that the main purpose of the expedition—the determination of the physical relations of the Gulf border—was successfully accomplished. The principal volcanoes—Orizaba, Popocatepetl, and Ixtaccihuatl—were ascended; and more exact measurements than have been made before gave Orizaba as the highest of the three, at a little less than eighteen thousand feet, instead of Popocatepetl. An entirely new view is taken by the explorers of the structure of the great central plateau. Instead of being an integral part of the Cordilleran system or a volcanic output, it is mostly a flooded expanse of lava and ash, which has covered over the Cretaceous system of rocks and mountains that constitute a nucleus to the plateau. Immense deposits of fossiliferous limestone, manifestly a part or continuation of the Cretaceous system of the United States, crop out around the borders of the