Monday, November 20, 2017

Born on this day. Paulus Potter

The Piebald Horse, 1650

The Young Bull. Potter's most famous painting. 1647

Two Horses in a Meadow
Paulus Potter was a Dutch painter who specialized in animals within landscapes, usually with a low vantage point. Before Potter died of tuberculosis at the age of 28, he succeeded in producing about 100 paintings.

When Paulus Potter died of tuberculosis before he was thirty years old, he had already profoundly influenced the way animals are depicted in European art. Potter created portraits of animals, making them his picture's focus, not just a backdrop for human action. The precocious son of a painter, his first dated work is from 1640. He entered Delft's Guild of Saint Luke in 1646 and later moved to The Hague. 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. Few of his contemporaries were more attuned to nature's moods or to the timeless harmony of beast, landscape, and weather. Potter's strong feeling for composition is seen in the way he grouped forms and used silhouette. His most successful paintings are small.

His contemporaries recognized Potter's talent. The famous Dr. Nicolas Tulp, who had spotted the young Rembrandt van Rijn's genius twenty years earlier, persuaded Potter to move to Amsterdam in 1652, whereupon he became Potter's mentor. In the 1800s, Potter's life-size The Young Bull was as famous as Rembrandt's Night Watch.Potter's etchings show the same sensitivity as his paintings.

Lidtke, Walter A., Michiel Plomp, and Axel Rüger. 2001. Vermeer and the Delft school. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0-87099-973-7

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1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

This is some beautiful work! Sorry Potter left us so young. The animals are beautifully rendered and look quite lifelike. Of the ones shown here, I like the Piebald Horse the best. And to be perfectly honest, I had seen The Young Bull before but did now know who painted it.