The genre of animal painting developed from the 17th century onwards as an integral part of landscape painting, but, as with human figures, animals were often painted by artists who were specialised in the genre. This unknown animalier is probably a German painter from the second half of the eighteenth century who looked to the rich production of masters such as Pieter Boel and Carl Borromäus Andreas Ruthart. It is to the latter that our painter owes the greatest debt, as can be seen in the luminosity of the chosen warm and soft tones, as well as in the delicate but expressive rendering of the two animals, surrounded by a deep but bare landscape. The small format is typical of this kind of production which was very popular in the eighteenth century, especially in northern Europe and England, countries devoted to hunting and equestrian competitions, which were very much in vogue in the following century.
Works of this type were not considered merely as decorative; the skill of the painter – or the sculptor, in other cases – was highly appreciated and, although animal painting was not considered to be a first-class genre, it was also very often well remunerated