Jean Baptiste Oudry was the preeminent animal painter of the first half of the 18th century and he was very active in the court of Louis XV who was very interested in hunting and portrayals of his favourite hunting dogs. He also was an important tapestry designer for the royal tapestry works of Beauvais and Gobelins.
Oudry came from a family of artists. He studied drawing at the Saint-Luc Academy and at the Royal Academy. He apprenticed with Nicholas Largillierre an important portrait painter of the time. He worked briefly as a portrait painter before turning to small trompe l’oeil paintings of dead animals and still lifes. He then began work on the hunting scenes and animal portraits for which he is well known. The National Gallery owns an example of this subject titled Two Cats. He had a number of royal commissions for this kind of work.
In later years, he created many dramatic scenes of conflict between different species of animals. He was involved increasingly with the two royal tapestry works and managed an active studio.