Arts Everyday Living: The Art of Winter–A Snowy Day on the Farm, Red Barn & Brilliant Sky

Horatio Shaw, Barnyard in Winter, c. 1885-1890, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. , Museum purchase, 1975

Title: Barnyard in Winter

Artist: Horatio Shaw (1847-1918)

Winter has truly arrived, the snow unlikely to melt soon, as if frozen in place during the upcoming weeks or even months. Both the farmer and his flock of sheep (plus a few chickens) have adjusted to the chilly conditions, bonded by their dependence on each other. Oblivious, though, to the stark beauty of  the sky, temporarily brightening the Midwestern landscape. Is it sunrise—or sunset?

American artist Horatio Shaw, who painted Barnyard in Winter, earned his living mainly as a sheep farmer in Michigan. Shaw did study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia under Thomas Eakins, but he still remains uncelebrated for the originality of his creative vision. For how can you forget that barn, striking red in color with its roof packed in contrasting white snow.




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