This picture is one of a series of views of the frozen Seine painted during the particularly severe winter of 1892/93. Monet is on record as having complained about the bitter coldness while he worked. By this period Monet was increasingly painting pictures in series. It is assumed that most of the picture was painted on the spot and Monet may have been attracted to the view precisely because the ice on the water produced such a complex mix of colour.
From about 1830 several landscape artists began to do more of their pictures out-of-doors and to use blonde, paler tones in an attempt to get closer to the specific and extremely varied appearance of real light shining on foliage or water. From the mid-1860s Monet and the Impressionists took this new direction further. Monet argued that all of a picture should be painted 'in front of the motif' and he was fond of declaring that he actually had no studio. He and his fellows were particularly attracted to the mundane bank-side landscape of the River Seine in the outer suburbs of Paris, where ordinary people came to swim or walk or boat on a Sunday afternoon-views which included lots of reflected light, few shadows and bright clear vistas.