A tranquil scene, the lake shown seems to glow with the sunlight cast upon it, and the gentle fall colors complete the view. The use of light in this painting is consistent with what is sometimes known as luminism; a movement of his time based on detailed, intricate paintings with a dedication to accurately portraying light in nature. Looking at A Quiet Lake it is easy to see why Bierstadt would take such an interest in this aspect of the view. A painting like this on view in a room could almost seem to bring that sunlight into the home with it.
The sunlight streams through the trees and right into the room, bringing with it an interesting history that adds even more layers to an already deep picture. Despite the relaxed scene, it is impossible to forget that Bierstadt lived a life of adventure, traversing the United States of America as it grew to bring his own interpretation and representation of the American West. He portrays the scene with a careful hand, showing respect to the untouched landscape. By doing this he captures not only a moment of beauty, but a moment in time that has long since passed.
The layers of color in the fall leaves glisten as brightly as the light, bringing a perfect balance to the painting. It is easy to see how Bierstadt's attention to detail and tendency toward romanticism in his art made his work popular for those unable to travel across the West at the time. Despite this fascinating history that comes with the painting's origins, the image is thoroughly timeless and can be displayed in any room to bring a touch of nature and warmth into it.