When I first witnessed the beauty of Théodore Gericault’s French painting “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct,” the first emotion I began to feel was love in twilight. The painting contrasts modes of darkness through the entering dark blue clouds as a bright light of sun begins to set, shining over the existence and relations between what appears to be one man and one woman. In this painting, one will find softness amongst rocky grounds, green amongst high mossy bridges, and heightening structures (trees, buildings, etc.) amongst low settling figures. The painting is formatted in a way that appears almost as if given a peek into a secret world. It is angled off to the side, so that the viewer of the painting not only receives glance of the two people talking but also of the soft light in which shadows upon them and their atmosphere.
I feel as though “Love” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge can be greatly reflected within Gericault’s painting. The poem begins by describing a place of ruins with the speaker of the poem residing on rocks in which overlook moon lit darkness. While the painting isn’t necessarily lit in the moonlight yet, it represents a transitioning moment to the love and atmosphere Coleridge describes. In the poem, the speaker is having a conversation with his lover, relaying to her a story about a knight who experiences heart break. The knight remains heart broken until her saves a woman who in turn happens to fall in love with him.
“’Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.”
This “love,” Coleridge speaks of is found in fear, in between rocky matters, and along tall mossy stakes, which is exactly what is captured in the painting.