The Great Piece of Turf


from Donald Kuspit:

Looking at the colors in Albrecht Dürer’s The Great Piece of Turf (1503), a watercolor and gouache heightened with white, one cannot help but be astonished at the freshness of the colors and the boldness of the image. Made 510 years ago—ten years longer than Dürer said the colors of the Heller Altarpiece would last—the work seems to have outlasted time. Described by Christof Metzger as – [along with the Young Hare (1502)] – “among the greatest masterpieces of draftsmanship in existence,” it might also be described as among the greatest masterpieces of painting in existence, considering that gouache is a technique of painting. The watercolors are opaque, but glisten with light and shadow, making some of the details seem transparent. Indeed, so delicate is the handling that the leaves that flank the turf on the left and the strands of grass that grow on its right seem oddly translucent. It is as though one were looking into nature as well as at it.


Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawings, Watercolors, and Prints from the Albertina

The Great Piece of Turf (detail)


send a private message to the editor

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s