From the age of fourteen Cornelis Kruseman attended the Amsterdamse Tekenacademie and received tuition from Charles Howard Hodges (1764–1837), Petrus Antonius Ravelli (1788–1861) and Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786–1850).
Kruseman continued to live in Amsterdam until he travelled to Switzerland and Italy in 1821. Eventually he ended up in Paris where he met Jacques-Louis David, Horace Vernet, Antoine-Jean Gros, Jean-Baptiste Isabey and Ary Scheffer. In 1825, after his return to the Netherlands, he settled in The Hague.
In 1826 he published a travel account of his journey to Italy, entitled Aanteekingen van C. Kruseman, betrekkelijk deszelfs kunstreis en verblijf in Italië.
In 1841 he left for Italy again. He would stay there for six years.
Thus he is also called the "Italian Kruseman". From 1847 to 1854 he lived in The Hague, and after that in Lisse until his death.
Kruseman died at the age of 60 on 14 November 1857 in Lisse.
Kruseman"s oeuvre consists of portraits, biblical subjects and Italian scenes. In 1917, a street, the Cornelis Krusemanstraat, was named after him in Amsterdam, in 1954 in Eindhoven, and in 1956 in Leeuwarden. The Krusemanstraat in Ede was also named after Cornelis Kruseman, in 1981.
In 1996, Mrs J.M.C. Ising (19 July 1899 – 6 October 1996), a descendant of Johannes Diederik Kruseman (16 March 1794 – 13 January 1861), the brother of Cornelis Kruseman, established the foundation Cornelis Kruseman - J.M.C. Ising Stichting, the Cornelis Kruseman Stichting for short.
The foundation"s objective is to gain more recognition for the work of Cornelis Kruseman and his painting relatives.