A Moment of Respite: A Great Piece of Turf, by Albrecht Dürer
March 25, 2020 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Yep, it's a great piece of turf. A supremely gifted and versatile German artist of the Renaissance period, Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) was born in the Franconian city of Nuremberg, one of the strongest artistic and commercial centers in Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was a brilliant painter, draftsman, and writer, though his first and probably greatest artistic impact was in the medium of printmaking.

The watercolour shows a large piece of turf and little else. The various plants can be identified as cock's-foot, creeping bent, smooth meadow-grass, daisy, dandelion, germander speedwell, greater plantain, hound's-tongue and yarrow.

Here's the wiki piece on it.

The Young Hare is amazing too.

About Dürer »
posted by ecorrocio (15 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, this is one time that I didn't gasp at seeing the name of a famous person, fearful they'd died...
posted by notsnot at 9:37 AM on March 25

And yet this was not featured in the Fliegender Zirkus biography
posted by NotAlwaysSo at 9:55 AM on March 25

I stared into his eyes in a self-portrait in Munich. It was like looking at someone I knew, someone modern. Uncanny valley, indeed. He is one of my faves.
posted by Jode at 10:01 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]

ecorreocio, thanks for the Khan Academy chat.

I vote that the painting was composed by Durer finding a nice-looking group of plants, and then possibly tweaking them slightly in the process of painting. I like to think he didn't move the plants themselves.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:40 AM on March 25

For more Dürer goodness, along with other Northern Renaissance masters, see The Renaissance Unchained: Episode 1. Amazon Prime and Daily Motion have it.

(I have a memory that the Albertina allows the work out only intermittently, because watercolors fade faster than oil. True? I find nothing to confirm or deny on the internet.)
posted by BWA at 10:48 AM on March 25

Dürer's stuff is amazing. Eye-popping in person... I've seen many of his works in various museums I've been to. Many years ago I bought a huge coffee table book of his engravings, and I still pull it out and look at it from time to time. The linked "turf" painting is astonishing considering the age in which it was created.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:02 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Great to see this here! He is one of my all time fave artists. I love this particular piece a lot.
posted by skye.dancer at 11:20 AM on March 25

One of my favorite pieces of art!
posted by acrasis at 12:59 PM on March 25

Fabulous work. It’s interesting to look at his self-portraits over time. In case you missed it, bonus fun: he’s featured as Playmobil set #6107.

Project Gutenberg has some of his writing available.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 1:20 PM on March 25

Albrecht Durer also makes a guest appearance as Town Marshal in that cowboy spoof for Monty Python's wierd Bavarian TV project. He makes an imposing Marshal.
posted by ovvl at 4:10 PM on March 25

Thanks for the post ecorrocio!

I first found this last year looking for watercolour inspiration - and found a mind-expanding inspiration on Melissa Harrison's blog talesofthecity.

Turf was brave for it's time - when everyone else was looking heavenward Dürer was looking down (at least a little bit). His Young Hare brings Joseph Beuys to my mind too recalling happier memories of museums and open, sunny places.
posted by unearthed at 5:14 PM on March 25

495 years ago, Durer had an interesting dream that he rendered into a watercolor.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:25 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]

From the link,
In the draft of his unpublished `Nourishment for Young Painters',

... wait I wanna read THAT.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:07 AM on March 26

Dürer recently came up in a question on the green: rainy asked what is the oldest painting depicting a surviving object?

Suspecting it would be some crown jewel or other, I went digging for the oldest paintings of all the ones I could find, and turned up Dürer's 1512 portrait of Charlemagne which, despite being an imagined likeness of the subject, includes the real imperial regalia of the Holy Roman Empire that survive to this day.

That guess currently seems to be winning, albeit a less humanly interesting object than rainy was hoping for.
posted by automatronic at 2:45 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]

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