Like other painters of the Hudson River School, Inness began his career painting with a tight, literal approach, but by the 1860s, he had adopted a looser, more passionate style of brushwork. In Winter Sky, the specific details of nature are difficult to perceive because Inness instead concentrated on depicting the effects of light and atmosphere on the landscape. While the format of expansive sky, low horizon, and setting sun is typical of luminist compositions, this painting is unusual in that it combines a vibrant, glowing sunset with a harsh, bleak landscape. Inness’s color choice reinforces this contrast, as the warm pinks and yellows in the sky play off the cool blues of the frozen ground.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).