Lines and Colors art blog

Durer’s Great Piece of Turf

Durer's Great Piece of Turf
Like his remarkable Hare, Albrecht Durer’s study in watercolor, pen and ink of a clump of earth containing an assortment of wild plants, known as the Great Piece of Turf, is a remarkable example of the artist’s penetrating powers of observation and brilliant rendering.

Like his Hare, the Great Piece of Turf has become one of the most well known of Durer’s works, in spite of — or perhaps because of — its unassuming subject matter.

This work, along with 90 other watercolors, drawings and prints from the extraordinary collection of the Albertina, is still on view here in the U.S. as part of an exhibition titled: Albrecht Durer: Master Drawings, Watercolors and Prints from the Albertina, at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. until June 9, 2013


10 responses to “Durer’s Great Piece of Turf

  1. Don O'Shea Avatar
    Don O’Shea

    We saw this work this past weekend at the National Gallery. I had never seen it before and was floored by it. The mixture of a simple subject with intricate textures drew me in. As a gardener, I get to appreciate many plants over time. This study is wonderful piece that records these plants for all time as no photograph ever could.

    For those who are balletomanes, just across the way from the entrance to the Durer exhibit is another, “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.” It displays staging and costumes of the Ballets Russes together with short clips of many of the ballets. My wife and I took nearly two hours to go through the exhibit. It’s there till September 2. If it’s convenient, go see it.

    If you can’t, the National Gallery made a 30 minute video that is shown as part of the exhibit. There is also a longer version that will surely show up on PBS eventually. Both are narrated by Tilda Swinton, who seems to inhabit art galleries these days.

  2. Aaaah… Durer…

  3. Ælle Avatar

    Durer aka Dürer, Albert
    Dürer, Albert Albrecht
    Dürer, Alberto
    Dürer, …
    Duerer, Albrecht
    Dürero, Alberto
    Durer, Albert
    Durer, Alberto
    Durer, Albertus
    Durer, Albrecht
    Durero, Alberto
    Durero, …
    Durerus, Albertus
    Direr, Albreht
    D?rers, Albrehts
    Djurer, Albrecht
    Djurer, A.
    Dürrer, Alb.
    Dyûrâ, …
    Agnes Frey was his spouse

    1. Yes, I was lazy and left off the umlaut (grin).

  4. Beautiful.
    Btw, several weeks ago I had opportunity to visit the exhibition The Northern Renaissance:
    Dürer’s prints and Holbein’s drawings were…well, it’s hard describe them. More than amazing.

  5. At long last, dandelions bigger than the ones in OUR yard.

  6. Susanne E. Avatar
    Susanne E.

    Dürer’s Hare and Dürer’s Piece of turf, two of the most unique and charming pieces of German painting… at least they have a special place in my heart.

    Reading your post today, I now have piece of mind over missing out on the Albertina during a visit to Vienna in March.

    I was kind of sad that I had no time left to see these beloved paintings – now I know they were in Washington at the time— good to know, I hope many Americans take advantage and visit the exhibition.

  7. I’d like to show this to some kids and then take them out to some local bit of rough ground. A neglected corner of a local park, and get them to look closely. Looking at good art – even more, great art like this, changes the way to see the world. To see the wonder of the ordinary, as William Blake said ‘to see heaven in a blade of grass’.
    I have always loved this work.

    1. Thanks, Nico. I agree. I think art at its best allows us to see the marvels in the ordinary.