Paulus Potter
Dutch painter



We do our best to use images that are open source. If you feel we have used an image of yours inappropriately please let us know and we will fix it.


Our writing can be punchy but we do our level best to ensure the material is accurate. If you believe we have made a mistake, please let us know.


If you are planning to see an artwork, please keep in mind that while the art we cover is held in permanent collections, pieces are sometimes removed from display for renovation or traveling exhibitions.

Paulus Potter
Dutch painter
Be the first to vote…

Birth Date


Death Date


rzarlif's picture


Paulus Potter loved himself some bulls and sheep. The Dutchman's portraits of barnyard animals are some of the first paintings to give animals center stage in paintings.

Before Potter, animals were supporting characters in human dramas or small bits of large landscapes. He painted not only the wildly popular life size The Young Bull but also the cheeky Pissing Cow, which offers a full-on view of urine pouring out of a cow's pee hole.

He may have been a bit of a scoundrel though. He made Pissing Cow for the widow of the governor of the Dutch Republic. She commissioned some kind of lovely dairy cow scene and Potter delivered a rear-view of a cow as it was taking a leak. The work was, surprise, rejected by the court. 

He was also sued by the royal court for non-delivery and left The Hague for Amsterdam when his name became mud. In Amsterdam, leading citizen and famous surgeon Nicolaes Tulp, who had twenty-years earlier asked Rembrandt van Rijn to paint the famous The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, commissioned Potter to make a portrait of his son, Dirck. Potter took a painting he couldn't sell, some guy sitting on a horse, and changed the face to Dirck's. Quick and easy.

Potter didn't live long.  He died at 28. At some point around 1654, a poor soul with consumption, the highly contagious infection tuberculosis, either coughed or sneezed on him and that was that. The disease was often fatal, even up into the 20th century.


Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Paulus Potter

Paulus Potter (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpʌulɵs ˈpɔtər]; 20 November 1625 (baptised) – 17 January 1654 (buried)) 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, working continuously.


Paulus Potter was born in Enkhuizen. He was baptized on 20 November 1625. In 1628 his family moved to Leiden, and in 1631 to Amsterdam, where young Paulus studied painting with his father, Pieter Symonsz Potter. After his mother died, his father started an affair with the wife of Pieter Codde, also living in the fancy Sint Antoniesbreestraat. For some time his father was a manufacturer of gilded leather hangings outside the city walls.

Potter became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft, but by 1649, Paulus moved to The Hague, next to Jan van Goyen. In July 1650, Potter married Adriana van Balckeneynde (1627-1690). His father-in-law was a leading building contractor in the Hague and introduced him to the Dutch elite.Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, a member of the stadholder's family and an art-lover, bought a painting with a pissing cow, but some court ladies seemed to have advised against it. In May 1652, he returned to Amsterdam on invitation of Nicolaes Tulp, who owned a number of his paintings. Tulp was impressed by his civilized behavior and politeness and had Potter paint his son Dirck Tulp as a noble equestrian. Potter already made a will in January 1653 and died a year later of tuberculosis, two months after his 28th birthday.

Paulus painted a self-portrait which was at Hackwood Park, Hampshire until 1998. It is now at Elibank House, Buckinghamshire.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Paulus Potter.