The Large Piece of Turf
Watercolour on Paper, 40.8 cm (16 ″); Width: 31.5 cm (12.4 ″)
Albertina Museum in Vienna
I find this work quite amazing. It was painted in watercolour in 1503 by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), one of the greatest artist from the German Renaissance. Durer was working and living in Nuremberg and had painted his very famous Christ-like self portrait in 1500 there. His studies of nature are really just that: a study of nature in support of his larger pieces of art. I suppose it was more a scientific study, like Leonardo did, than considered a work of art. And yet we cannot help but see it as an amazing work of art. One of the most amazing thing about this piece is the date. To see such high realism as early as 1503 is fascinating. And science or not, we can all appreciate the true beauty in something as simple as a piece of turn. Durer made us see it, even though we walk past it every day without noticing.