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Paulus Potter was a painter and etcher who is mostly known for his paintings of animals. Animals feature prominently in all of Potter's works, sometimes alone, but usually in small groups against the sky, or in larger numbers with peasant figures and rustic buildings in a vast landscape.Potter learned to paint from his father Pieter Symonsz. According to some sources, Potter was a trivial painter. His mother, Aechtie Pouwels, refers to the wealthy Egmont and Semeyns family. Her brother is also a painter.
In 1628 the family moved from Enkhuizen to Leiden, where his father became a member of the Glassworkers Association. In 1631 he moved to Amsterdam. There, Porter studied the art painting in his father's studio and studied the works of Pieter Lastman and Nicolaes Moeyaert.
Potter joined the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft in 1646. In 1649 he moved to The Hague. One year later he married Adriana, daughter of the master carpenter and builder Claes Dircksz van Balckeneynde. Potter’s father-in-law introduced him to the Dutch elite.
Potter's style shows little influence of previous masters. In such a short career, there was little style development between early and later work, but in 1647 he undergoes a revival in performance. He produced his most beautiful work during this period, which deviated from his standard style, the enormous 'Taurus' (1647), which is life-size. The Taurus was and remains his most celebrated work.
On May 1, 1652, Potter settled in Amsterdam at the invitation of Nicolaes Tulp, who owned some of his paintings. Impressed by his politeness and good manners, Tulip hired Potter to create life-size portraits of his son Dick.
Potter made a will in January 1653 and died of tuberculosis one year later, two months after his 28th birthday.