When he was only sixteen years old, the young Russian peasant Filipp Maliavin left the village of Kazanka in Samara province for the St. Panteleimon monastery on Mount Athos to study icon painting. He remained in Greece until 1891 when he returned to Russia where he was sponsored by the sculptor Vladimir Beklemishev to study at the St. Petersburg Academy under the tutelage of Il'ia Repin.
Maliavin's originality and synthesis of Impressionism and Expressionism proved extremely popular. His portraits of peasants epitomize his style and were highly-praised when shown at international exhibitions. The present work, Sleighride, depicts a traditional Russian scene, with the bright white snow and horse-drawn sleigh pulling two peasants, perhaps off to a mid-winter celebration, each wearing a brilliantly colored scarf, a motif found in many of Maliavin's peasant portraits.