Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mount of the Holy Cross

I've heard some people express disbelief at paintings they had seen that featured a mountain with a cross etched in the rock. I'd hear comments like "No way...how cornball...that would never happen in nature."

Y'know what? They're wrong! There IS such a mountain!

The mountain is the Mount of the Holy Cross. It's in Colorado, east and slightly south of Vail right off of the Interstate 70. There's even a turnoff for it. I've never been there myself (one of those things I always meant to do when we lived in Colorado), but others have told me there's a parking lot for it, and one has to hike in a little on a trail before it comes into view.

The Mount of the Holy Cross has been known to white explorers and artists since the 19th century. Since I don't have photos of my own, I'd like to share some historical photos so I won't violate any living photographers' copyrights.

 Here are two images by 19th century photographer William Henry Jackson. When there's just the right amount of snow, the cross stands in sharp contrast to the rock around it.

To the left is a stereoscopic (3D) photo of the Mount. If you know how to look at stereo pictures without a viewer (your eyes must be looking straight ahead as though staring into the distance, not crossed as when you look at things up close), you'll see the rock outcroppings at the bottom seem to push the Mount itself back away from you.

Now we're looking at some paintings by my favorite 19th century artist, Thomas Moran. I never read how many times he painted the Mount of the Holy Cross, but here are four examples of his work -- all different, but equally impressive!

So, yes, there ARE mountains with crosses on them!

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