VIENNA – The most famous hare in art history can be seen in all its splendor at an exhibition on the German genius Albrecht Dürer at the Albertina Museum in the Austrian capital Vienna.
“An exhibition in this form can only be done here and will not be done again in the next few years,” curator Christof Metzger told EFE.
He was referring not only to the “Young Hare,” painted in 1502, but also to the 140 pieces by the great representative of the Renaissance north of the Alps that the Viennese museum hosts, the most important Dürer collection in the world.
The exhibition, which opens on Friday and runs until January 6, 2020, traces a line through the history of Dürer’s artistic life and sheds light on how he understood and created art.
The “Young Hare,” which has been heralded for its almost photographic realism, is one of the main features of the display.
The celebrated work has not left its vault since 2016 when it was hung for just a couple of hours.
Before that, the painting had been stored away for two years and after the current exhibition runs its course, it will be stored in the museum’s archives for another five years, staff said.
Complementing the star feature are other works such as “The Adoration of the Magi,” lent by the Uffizi in Florence; “Jesus Among the Doctors” from the Thyssen; “Bornemisza” in Madrid and “Portrait of a Man,” from the Prado, also in Madrid.
The 200 objects exceed other exhibitions dedicated to Dürer, including one organized by the Albertina itself when it reopened in 2003, attracting 400,000 people at the time.
It captures the artist as a true Renaissance man, a humanist, a connoisseur of the ancient world and a theorist who observed and represented life without prejudice.
According to Metzger, who specialized in 16th-century art, the exhibition in Vienna allows the visitor to get to know Dürer like never before.
“It was clear that in this exhibition there were going to be a lot of new things to bring out,” he said, adding that Dürer himself was a curator who cataloged his work.
Some preparatory sketches for pieces like the “Heller Altarpiece” are so precise they become stand-alone works of art themselves.
The “Young Hare” is cast in a new light, too.
Not only does it represent a detailed natural study, but also a Trompe-l’œil as its body casts a shadow from light emanating from a window reflected in its eye.
“An absolute masterpiece of observation and execution,” Metzger said.
He considers Dürer to be on level-pegging with the Italian Renaissance greats like Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael.
“He is there equivalent north of the Alps,” he added.