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The Hudson River School of Art and its Ice Age Origins

Authors Robert and Johanna Titus explore how the landscapes captured by Hudson River School artists were first sculpted by ice age processes.

Hudson River School artists produced images of grand wilderness in the Catskills, popularizing the region and influencing the early environmental movement. Preceding these artists were the ice age glaciers that formed the mountains and valleys of the Catskills, creating the landscapes we have come to know through the works of Thomas Cole, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Fredrick Church, and others.

Discover the ice age origins of iconic Hudson River School paintings, and gain a new appreciation for the people who framed this picturesque region along with its glacial underpinnings.

Robert and Johanna Titus are journalists, authors, geologists, and long-time residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. They are authors of several books, including The Hudson Valley in the Ice Age, The Catskills in the Ice Age, and The Catskills: A Geological Guide. They write regular geology columns for regional magazines and newspapers and maintain the blog The Catskill Geologist (

This presentation is an offering of the Catskill Science Collaborative, a program funded by the NY State Environmental Protection Fund and private donors.