The Large Piece of Turf
Watercolour on Paper, 40.8 cm (16 ″); Width: 31.5 cm (12.4 ″)
Albertina Museum in Vienna
This highly detailed small work 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 famous Christ-like self portrait in 1500 there. His studies of nature are really just that: studies of nature in support of his larger pieces of art. They were more scientific studies, like Leonardo did, than considered works of art. And yet we cannot help but admire them. One of the most amazing things 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 some simple grass. Durer made us see it, even though we walk past it every day without noticing.