In the 1620s Pieter Molijn pioneered one of the innovations in Dutch landscape art by organizing a composition on a diagonal. Thirty years later, he used this device to animate a procession crossing the lake in this drawing. The diagonal not only leads the eye into depth but also unifies the composition from left to right. To add variety and interest, Molijn intersected the line in the middle with a sleigh going its own way.
Using Holland's low horizon line and barren winter landscape and a relatively small number of figures, Molijn created an intimate picture that suggests the isolation of figures in nature and the hard work demanded by surviving the cold winters.