Frederik Marinus Kruseman stemmed from an important family of artists, whose members include both the history painter Cornelis Kruseman (1797-1857), Director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Amsterdam and a painter of historical and biblical subjects, and the historical painter and portraitist Jan Adam Kruseman (1804-1862). Kruseman started as an apprentice to the respected still-life painter Jan Reekers (1790-1858). His parents entrusted Reekers with their son because the artist had had a guiding hand in the tutelage of Kruseman's cousin Jan Adam. After Reekers, Kruseman apprenticed with Andreas Schelfhout's son-in-law, Nicolaas Roosenboom (1805-1880). Roosenboom was the son-in-law and pupil of the great artist Andreas Schelfhout and it is likely that Kruseman would have come into contact with Schelfhout as he was a regular visitor to Roosenboom’s studio. In the September of 1833 the artist made his debut at the Exhibition for Living Masters in The Hague, exhibiting a landscape. Although the natural world and the practice of landscape painting played a central role in Kruseman's formation and style, his focus on winter scenes can be credited to his second tutor.
Kruseman travelled extensively through Northern Europe before finally settling in Brussels in 1841. Between 1852 and 1856, Kruseman lived once again in the environs of Haarlem where he took many trips around the vicinity of the city, but he returned to Brussels in 1856 where he remained for the rest of his life and where the present lot was painted. In this period his style had become into full fruition. The present lot is a fine example of the artist’s favorite scene, the depiction transports the beholder to a fantastical winter scene. The small group of figures, in the centre of the painting, tells a story of its own. They are gathered near an impressive church around a sleigh, which they are using to transport their belongings over the frozen river. On the path depicted on the left, leading into the distance, we see more travelers. The tree groups show there characteristic coral-like tree branches and the depth in the present panoramic landscape is masterly executed. The rendering of the black mirror surface of the ice and the marks left by skaters are perfectly executed. A warm light enlights the scene and bathes the landscape in a dreamy atmosphere.