It is a glorious summer’s day in this scene by Paulus Potter. People are enjoying themselves in the water; cows look on and seek coolness in the shade and the pond. Potter had a lot of fun with the reflections in the water, to which the painting owes its Dutch nickname: The Reflected Cow.
Although Potter portrayed the animals faithfully and in detail, he did not get their proportions quite right. The grazing sheep, for example, is too large if you compare it to the drinking cow. This is probably because Potter sketched the animals individually, later bringing all the sketches together without fully fine-tuning the scale.
(?) De Wolf Collection, Amsterdam; Govert van Slingelandt, The Hague, in or before 1752-1767; his widow, Agatha Huydecoper, 1767-1768; Van Slingelandt sale, The Hague, 18 May 1768 (Lugt 1683), no. 26; the entire collection sold to Prince William V; Prince William V, The Hague, 1768-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822
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