Despite the short length of his career, Paulus Potter greatly influenced the ways in which animals were depicted in art throughout Europe. Rather than serving as the backdrop for human interaction, animals take center stage in Potter’s work. To gather inspiration for his compositions, he often wandered the Dutch countryside and sketched the numerous creatures he encountered on farms. Cattle were one of Potter’s favorite subjects. He sought to capture the animals’ different behaviors at varying times of day and to harness the fluctuating atmospheric light.
Label from Menagerie: Animals on View, March 11–June 4, 2017