Works of art that express a cold/distant tone might depict characters that are emotionally disconnected, with little or no interaction between them. Beyond representation, stylistic elements such as somewhat stark colors, minimal rendering of form, hard edges, outlines, and/or somewhat indifferent paint application might lend a cool/cold tone.
An artist might impart a cool/distant tone to a piece due to his or her own emotional state, or the artist might choose to evoke this tone as a reflection of the characters being portrayed. A cool/distant tone might also be adopted to suit a piece meant for a setting or purpose that demands an expression of aloofness.
Featured: The Trousseau by Charles W. Hawthorne.