“Hare”, Albrecht Durer – overview of the painting

“Hare”, Albrecht Durer – overview of the painting
"Hare", Albrecht Durer - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Albrecht Durer
  • Museum: Albertina Gallery, Vienna
  • Year: 1502

Overview of the painting :

Hare – Albrecht Durer. Paper, cardboard, watercolor. 25 cm x 23 cm
   “The highest degree of expressiveness remained unattainable when the work appeals not only to the eye of the viewer, but also to the sense of touch, so there is a desire to touch” – the famous art critic Kuno Mittelstedt, author of the book Albrecht Durer, writes about the painting “Hare”. Indeed, thanks to the unique technique used by the artist to create the picture, she is one of the most popular and recognizable pieces of Dührer.

   The “Hare” was written in 1502. Colored brown paper glued onto cardboard, watercolor, gouache and white (to give the volume of animal hair) was used as materials.

   Durer is known as the first German artist to actively use watercolors, and in this picture there is a peculiarity of applying paint in several layers – because of this, it seems like the linger’s coat is elaborated in detail by colored pencils, and not performed by thousands of brush strokes. The fur looks fluffy thanks to the use of gray, brown, red smears of different lengths: short – on the ears, long – on the sides and body.

   It is worth paying attention to the hare’s neck: there the artist depicted the hair wet. The location of the animal is also interesting: on the square sheet of paper it is diagonally placed, the artist’s look at the hare is directed from above. The pose of the bunny is natural, as if he is now anxiously sniffing to later fall off.

   It is still unknown whether Dührer wrote from a living beast or from his memory, but judging by the pose and correct image of the window frame in the pupil, the first version is most likely.

   According to legend, Albrecht Durer saved a sick animal in the forest and brought it to his workshop. The popularity of the picture is due to its simple, straight-seated plot – on the one hand, and ideal, academic technique of execution – on the other. We can say that Zayats became a pioneer in the genre of animism.

   Dührer himself for the first time signs the picture, leaving his initials and the date of writing the work. This suggests how much this thing meant to the artist.

   Already in 1519, only 17 years after writing, the work is bought by the Nuremberg collector Willibald Imgof, who provides access to it for copying to other artists. To date, 13 copies of Zaytsa are known, one of which is located in the Albertina Gallery in Vienna.

   Unfortunately, the original work at Albertina itself is extremely rare, instead visitors are shown an exact copy. The rare appearance of the original is due to the fragility and old age of work, as well as the fact that watercolors are unacceptable to keep in the light for a long time.

   The “Hare” by Albrecht Dührer, of course, forever entrenched in the history of art. Today it is reflected in Easter traditions (Osterhase Easter Hare), a monument to the Durerovsky Zoyts is erected in the artist’s hometown – Nuremberg, where, by the way, you can everywhere purchase souvenirs or chocolate with the image of a famous animal.