The painting “The Hare” by Albrecht Durer is one of the first examples of animalism in Western art
The Hare by Albrecht Durer, which became a masterpiece of the Northern Renaissance and the author’s most famous sketch on the theme of nature. It is done in watercolors using gouache and white, but in such a technique that it looks like graphics with colored pencils. The master worked with photographic precision the hairs of wool, all shades of fur and the reflection of the window sash in the eye of the animal. Despite such a high level of detail, artistic imagery did not stand aside. We see not just a hare, but a cautiously crouching animal, ready to jump up and run away at any moment.
Author: Albrecht Durer (1471-1528).
Year of writing: 1502.
Size: 22.5 × 25 cm. Style: Northern Renaissance.
Technique: Watercolor, gouache, whitewash.
Material: Paper on cardboard.
Location: Albertina Gallery in Vienna.
Description of the painting
Albrecht Durer is one of the most important representatives of the Renaissance, known as “the northern Leonardo da Vinci”. Among other achievements, he is considered the founder of watercolor painting in the West. The artist painted “Hare” a few years after he opened his own workshop in Nuremberg. His newfound independence allowed him to try new tricks and deviate from tradition. This hare for the first time in European art became the semantic center of the work. Previously, such animals served as symbolic additions to biblical scenes.
Dürer also has other sketches of nature, but the “Hare” was the first to receive the author’s signature with a date. This confirms that the artist considered it a complete and independent work, and not an auxiliary sketch. Over time, the picture became so famous that many copies appeared – forgeries and free interpretations. More than a dozen versions have come down to us, written by artists of the 16th century. Now the “Hare” by Dürer is kept in the Vienna Albertina gallery – this is its most famous exhibit. The original was put on public display only twice in five years, since the watercolor must be protected from light. The rest of the time, viewers can see an exact copy. The picture “Hare” is loved and revered in Nuremberg – here you can find reproductions of it everywhere. In 2003, a sculpture by Juergen Goertz based on an old drawing appeared in front of the artist’s house-museum. At the same time, an installation by Ottmar Hörl was organized, which included 7,000 hares made of green plastic.