• Wolf-Hound

    Artist:
    Potter, Paulus. 1625-1654
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    96,5x132 cm

Potter, Paulus. 1625-1654

Wolf-Hound

Holland, circa 1650-1652

Paulus Potter was not only a landscapist, but above all a talented painter of animals. One of the masterpieces of that genre is his Wolf-Hound. The ordinary watchdog has been painted with great sympathy and even respect. Of course, he is no rival for the pedigree hunting dogs that European artists preferred to depict in scenes of hunting wild animals or in formal portraits alongside their aristocratic owners. Neither is there anything superficially striking in Potter’s painting: its charm lies precisely in its unsophistication and precision in conveying the subject. The dog was painted when moulting in springtime. It is shedding its coat, in places so much that its skin is visible. With its paws spread and ears set back, it is calm, but keeping a close eye on someone, prepared to repel an unwelcome visitor at any moment. Potter seems to have viewed the dog while lying on the ground. From this low viewpoint the figure of the animal stands out precisely against the landscape background, giving the image of the mongrel elements of an unexpected monumentality and significance. On the kennel we can read the artist’s name. Perhaps he invested some particular meaning in the placement of his signature, unconsciously comparing himself to a working dog. In the back of the picture we see a traditional Dutch view: the outlines of a town in the distance, cows grazing on a water meadow and low cumulus clouds drifting slowly in from the sea.

Title:

Wolf-Hound

Place:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

96,5x132 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1814; formerly in the collection of Josephine de Beauharnais in the Castle of Malmaison near Paris

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-817

Category:

Collection:

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