Inness began his career executing detailed, realistic landscapes in a style similar to other artists of the Hudson River School. After a series of trips to Europe, as well as growing involvement in Swedenborgianism—the spiritual doctrines of the theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg—Inness created increasingly free, mystical, and expansive paintings. This work was painted following a visit to France and Italy from 1870 to 1874, during what has been considered the most important phase of Inness’s career.
Here a group of farmers harvest grain in the foreground, while a storm seems to be brewing in the background. Inness frequently used approaching storms as a sign of God revealing himself in nature. The notion that the natural world was imbued with the spirit of the divine was an important component of Inness’s religious beliefs.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).