Paulus Potter was Holland's most outstanding 17th-century animal painter.
The manner in which Potter makes the light of a spring morning the main subject of the picture is unparalleled in landscape painting. A cow lows as it emerges from the dark stall.
The trees are just beginning to bud. Wispy little cirrus clouds float across the sky. The spring sun is just rising behind the stall, illuminating the middle- and background of the picture.
The popular depictions of cows and pigs reflected for contemporary viewers the source of national prosperity: animal husbandry and dairy farming on free Dutch soil.