Schelfhout had great success during his lifetime, both in The Netherlands and abroad, excelling in landscapes. His winter scenes were especially in high demand. An art-critic praised Schelfhout in 1841 as a result of his entry at the 'Tentoonstelling van Levende Meesters' (Exhibition of Living Artists): 'Alleen zoo als Schelfhout den winter voorstelt in het witte gewaad en met de bonte mengeling van schaatsenrijders, vinden wij er iets aantrekkelijks in. Het zijn de ware voorstellingen van onze wintervreugde.'
Schelfhout had an important influence on 19th century art and among his many students were Charles Leickert (1816-1907), Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) and Wijnand Nuyen (1813-1839). At the time of his seventieth birthday a group of artists including Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove (1790-1880), Julius Jacobus van de Sande Bakhuyzen (1825-1925) en Johannes Bosboom (1817-1891) praised him in a poem: 'uw winter overtreft uw lent in rijk gebloemt. Heel Nederland heeft u lief, waar heel Euroop u roemt.'
Like most Romantic painters, Schelfhout looked to the Old Masters for inspiration. He studied 17th century paintings and translated their motives into a contemporary setting. Like Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709), and Jan van Goyen (1596-1656), Andreas Schelfhout selected and combined various elements from nature to create a new whole, allowing himself to improve on nature itself.
The present lot displays a fine balance between light and dark and a carefully executed composition in which the horizontal and vertical elements all point to a possible use of the golden section, a theory which is important to a thorough understanding of Schelfhout's work. The mathematical perspective enhanced with proportions of the different pictoral elements and the pallet used, all attribute to the highly realistic suggestion and make this a remarkable and important Dutch work of art.