Even in the first stanza of Il tramonto della luna, the dim light of the night-time landscape and then darkness are filled with poetic meaning. "The silvery light of the moon", explains Fenoglio, "leaves the world orphaned of hope and meaning". The landscape from dim moonlight to total darkness is eroded in these lines: The moon descends; and discolours the world; Shadows disappear, and a Darkness descends on valley and mountain; The night remains bereaved, And singing, with melancholy tune, The extreme dawn of the fleeting light, Which before was his commander, Bids farewell to the cart man of his life; In equal measure he disappears, and he Leaves behind the mortal age Youth. «The splendour of the sun is less present», continues Fenoglio, «and, if anything, it is filtered and indirect, uncertain or impeded; as is the case in Il sogno
where the rays meander "between the closed shutters" of the poet's room. Or as in La vita solitaria
, where the flickering rays from the sun make way for the morning rain».
The question arises as to whether Leopardi was not inspired directly by an artist. But we know very little about Leopardi's favourite paintings explains Fenoglio, "he reflects much more on music". To make up for this, we can attempt to piece together a few things and come up with a reasonable hypothesis. For example. Lorenzo Lotto's Annunciation is housed in Recanati, Fenoglio reminds us, and adds: "I always thought it could be a significant point of reference for Leopardi, for his ability to create a beauty which is frightening and of which the Zibaldone talks about starting with Montesquieu".