A Great Piece of Turf

“From this [drawing], the treasure secretly gathered in your heart will become evident through your creative work.”
– Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer large turf

While searching for images for another post, I came across this painting by Albrecht Dürer. A Great Piece of Turf, painted by the artist in Nuremberg, Germany in 1503 is widely considered to be his masterpiece and it is a remarkable piece of realistic painting.  Durer is quoted as saying “Truly art is firmly fixed in Nature. He who can extract her thence, he alone has her.”

I have always thought that botanical painting would be interesting to study and practice, but I am generally put off by what I see as rigidity in the discipline.  The reality is that this is what appeals to me immensely and I am pleased to add to my knowledge of art history by becoming aware of the ‘realistic’ paintings of Albrecht Dürer.

I also think it proves an undeniable fact; weeds are in the eye of the beholder.

Check out a few more of his amazing images.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Nell Jean on April 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I have a framed reproduction of the Hare, a copy of #1502. It is one of my favs.

    ‘A Great Piece of Turf’ looks a great deal like much of my turf, including going-to-seed ryegrass planted for winter green and soil improvement.

  2. Laurie Brown on April 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I love that his idea of a great piece of turf includes a dandelion and plantain, among other things we modern Americans would consider horrid in turf!

    I’ve never been able to decide which I love more: Durer’s nature paintings, or his grim black and white work.

  3. louise on April 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    love this post, a bit of garden interest with art history!

  4. p bargar on April 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    *sweet sigh*

    I love his stuff.

  5. Craig @ Ellis Hollow on April 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    That’s been my wallpaper at work for years.

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