While training to become a ceramic painter in his native Sèvres, Troyon spent his spare time studying landscape painting. He particularly admired the seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael. In the early 1830s, Troyon formed friendships with artists Théodore Rousseau and Jules Dupré, who proved to be very influential. Throughout the 1840s they worked together at Barbizon in the forest of Fontainebleau, aiming for greater naturalism in their painting. In 1847, Troyon visited Holland, where he was struck by the animal paintings of Paulus Potter and Aelbert Cuyp. This visit marked a shift in his work, and thereafter animals became his central interest. Troyon became one of Europe's most prominent artists, and his late paintings of the Normandy coast influenced the Impressionists.