Paulus Potter (1625-1654) was a Dutch painter and a pioneer in the painting of landscapes with animals. Farm scenes and small-scale paintings of animals became popular in Holland from the middle of the 17th century. Potter was a precocious artist; his earliest works date from 1640, when he would have been 15 years old.
Potter created portraits of animals, making them his picture's focus, not just a backdrop for human action. He is said to have wandered the Dutch countryside, sketchbook in hand, equally sensitive to how farm animals behave at different times of day and to light's vicissitudes from morning to dusk.