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D2293. Pair of Polychrome Figures of Cows

Delft, circa 1730

Each with a blue-streaked hide, an orange-red forelock, blue horns, manganese hooves, and orange-red spine and tail, wearing garlands of flowers encircling its back and neck, modeled affronté, standing foursquare on a low rectangular base molded and decorated on the top with frogs, snakes and leaves.

Height: 14.5 cm. (5.8 in.)

The intriguing figure of a little frog or toad molded in the relief on the base of these groups appears on many of the various Delft models of cows, and it remains an elusive element. It may refer, without any particular meaning, to the famous painting from 1647 by Paulus Potter (1625-1654) of ‘De Stier’ or ‘The Young Bull’ (in the Mauritshuis, The Hague, inv. no. 136), in which Potter painted a frog or toad in the foreground. Alternatively, because the toad can be interpreted as an allegory of death, its inclusion in these bovine models perhaps emphasizes the probable brevity of this domestic beast’s useful life.

To read more about The Feast of Delft Cows follow the link.

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