Sydney Harold Meteyard's oil painting Evening depicts a young woman dressed in the clinging folds of a rust-colored gown and a cloak of a darker shade. A green cloth girdle worn low on her hips in the medieval style accents the dress. The material easily allows her form and contrapposto pose to show through, creating a figure reminiscent of Greek sculptures. Jewels hold Evening's hair away from her face, leaving the rest to spill down her back and over her shoulders, blending in and becoming nearly indistinguishable from her cloak. She gazes off into the distance, paying no attention to the viewer. The foreground occupies most of the frame, leaving only a small window in the upper right corner to create depth, similar to many Pre-Raphelite paintings like Burne-Jones' Wheel of Fortune. A cloth covered table and a chair, and lilies liberally scattered about clutter the rest of the scene.

Questsions

1. Evening's gown would perhaps be expected to be a darker color more associated with night, such as a dark blue, purple, or black, instead of the rusty orange more suitable for the personification of sunset or sunrise. Why did Meteyard choose to dress his subject in these particular shades?

2. Lilies can mean many different things. The white lily symbolizes purity, the day lily coquetry, the tiger wealth, and yellow gratitude and gaiety. In medieval times, lilies also symbolized feminine sexuality. What type of lilies did Meteyard place about Evening. What significance does this have on the painting?

3. The subject of this painting originated in Greek mythology and her form on Greek sculptures. This combination traditionally allowed artists to paint nude figures. Why did Meteyard choose to clothe Evening, making the cloth cling so tightly to allow the form to show through instead?


Victorian Web Homepage Visual Arts paintings Sidney Harold Meteyard

Last modified 20 October 2004