Painter/Artist: Paulus Potter

Dutch School. “Unrivalled among the masters of the seventeenth century in the precision, finesse, and dramatic force with which he characterises cattle and other animals.” (Wallace Collection Catalogue.)

LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY

LANDSCAPE WITH CATTLE On the left, in shadow, a horse and cart before a barn, a dog, and some sheep. In the centre a cow grazing on a bank in sunlight. Farther to the right a horse, a man, three cows, and a sheep. Bright blue sky. Signed and dated 1651.

Purchased from the Peel Collection in 1871.

LONDON, WALLACE COLLECTION

HERDSMEN WITH THEIR CATTLE The strawyard of a farm, having on the right a shed and sheep-cot, near which are two peasants sitting on the ground taking their repast and a little dog begging for a morsel; on their right are a ram and a ewe standing together, and behind them lies a sheep under the cot. On the opposite side are a yellow and white cow lying down, a red one standing by, and an old horse close to them. A few slight trees rise behind the hut, and beyond a sort of fence which bounds the yards is seen the distant country. The appearance of a fine evening adds a charm to the scene: A beautiful example. (Smith.)

Signed and dated 1648.

THE HAGUE

THE YOUNG BULL A brown shorthorn bull, as large as life, with a broad irregular streak of white on his shoulder and foreleg, standing in profile to left, the head turned slightly towards us, on a slight eminence in a flat landscape. Beside him on the left of the picture is a tree, under which are grouped a cow with a white face lying towards us, a sheep and a lamb, and a ram, behind which is a herdsman standing with his left hand on the trunk of the tree.

The popularity of this picture is possibly due in some manner to the fact observed by Waagen that “the cattle are so true to nature as not only to appear real at a certain distance, but even to keep up the illusion when seen near, the single hairs on the cow’s head being seemingly palpable to the touch.”

THE FARM In a meadow surrounded by trees, in front of a cottage on the right, are grouped seven cows, ten sheep, two goats, three horses, and an ass, standing or lying. In the centre two cows and an ox. To the right is a groom holding a horse. In front of the cottage is an old woman washing linen on a stone beside a well. Close beside her is a little boy seated on a block of wood, and a dog springing at him, while an old man strikes at it with his hat. On the left is a woman milking a cow. Background of pasture and cattle.

Signed and dated 1649.

This picture was taken to France from Kassel in 1806, and presented by Napoleon to the Empress Josephine for her collection at Malmaison. It was bought by the Czar Alexander I. in 1815 for 190,000 francs.