This image of a young hare is one of the most viewed products in our on-line store. The title of this watercolor painting is “Feldhase”, or field rabbit, created over 500 years ago in Nuremburg, Germany by Albrecht Dürer. The fine detail exhibited here is a hallmark of this artist. Dürer has always been well-known for his meticulous attention to detail…a product of his devotion to thorough research and extraordinary skill as an artist in many mediums.
Dürer was not just a painter, but also an engraver, print-maker and a mathematician. He was in his 20s when his prints first gained recognition across Europe, leading him to become widely known as one of the greatest Northern Renaissance artists. Dürer not only managed to create a detailed, almost scientific, study of the animal but also infuses the picture with a warm golden light that hits the hare from the left, highlighting the ears and the run of hair along the body, giving a spark of life to the eye, and casting a strange shadow to the right.
His process here was to lightly sketch the image and then to under paint it with some washes of brown watercolor. Then he patiently built up the texture of the fur with a variety of dark and light brushstrokes in both watercolor and bodycolor. Gradually, the painting was brought to completion with the addition of a few refined details such as the whiskers and the meticulous reflection of a window in the creature’s eye. The resulting image appears to us today as though it were a beautiful, perfectly lit, professional photograph.