Théodore Gericault’s Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct is a beautiful landscape painting that uses colors, landscapes, people and buildings to create a romantic scene which connects with Williams Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.” In Gericault’s painting, we can see the aqueduct leading into a set of buildings on overlooking a cliff. This scene can almost be directly described from one of the opening lines form Wordsworth poem that reads:
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky
Wordsworth describes these cliffs ass lofty and secluded which very much looks like the painting as there is not very much man made structures present or in focus of the painting besides the aqueduct. Wordsworth also mentions the connection of the landscape with the ‘quiet sky’ and this can be seen in the landscape as well. If we look at the color of the sky on the left side of the painting are similar to those used on the cliffs and fields on the lower right side of the painting using yellows, orange and reds to form this connection with the landscape and the sky above. This can also be seen with the taller mountain behind the cliffs that uses dark green, blue and black to look like the cloudy sky present on the upper right hand corner of the painting.
The Romantic idea of the relationship between man and nature is very much present in both of the works. In Wordsworth, he writes about his experience visiting the same location at different points of his life and how he viewed and experienced the landscape differently and how it stayed with him for all these years. He writes:
For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.
Now as he’s older, Wordsworth is explaining how he learned to view the landscape in relation to man and their ‘sad music’ that is not harsh but has enough power. Wordsworth is viewing nature now as it connects to humanity and how we effect it. It’s beautiful to think about a quiet river running through a silent forest but wordsworth still hears the sound of humanity in the background with enough power to transform this place into something else. In the painting we can see this theme as well. The only humans in the image are close to the front of the scene but are tiny in comparison to the mountains and cliffs being portrayed in the background. It’s also interesting to notice how the humans are interacting with nature directly in the image and the man made structures are lonesome and show no human interaction. The aqueduct is also very present in the painting and I believe its importance as a man made structure designed to carry water like a river made it the center and title of the piece. The aqueduct sits high above the natural waters and in relation to the perspective of the image seems to be running opposite or perpendicular to the waters below.