The Piebald Horse | Artopia

Paulus Potter

A Closer Look

Paulus Potter has chosen a handsome spotted horse as central to this painting. What visual devices does he use to bring attention to the horse? Look at the various textures in the painting. What techniques does Potter use to paint the sky, clouds, grass, ground, mountains, and the horse's mane, coat and tail? If the horse were human what kind of attitude would it have? Think about a subject that you would like to draw or paint. How would you draw attention to that subject?

About the Painting

The Piebald Horse is a good example of how Paulus Potter painted portraits of animals. Before Potter, most artists portrayed animals as part of the background; he places them front and center and gives them personality. This horse may have been painted for its owner, probably a wealthy man who was very proud of his beautiful animal.

About the Artist

The 17th century was Holland's Golden Age. Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gerard ter Borch,Paulus Potter and other "Dutch Masters" all lived and worked during the 1600s. As a boy, Paulus Potter liked to wander around the countryside with a sketchbook, drawing farm animals, which became the primary subjects of his paintings. Potter died at twenty-nine but he had a major influence on the portrayal of animals in European painting.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the painting means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two paintings to compare & contrast.