This particular painting is closely linked to Wing of a Blue Roller, with both probably coming from the same bird. There is a loose dating of both artworks of circa 1500-1512.
The depictions of animals and plants by Albrecht Durer are considered amongst the finest by an artist during the Renaissance. Considering the qualities of those featured in this art period, this is quite an achievement. His attention to detail on the plumage found in this watercolour plus the use of vibrant colour is ahead of its time.
This painting is another Durer artwork on display at the Albertina in Vienna, Austria. This impressive museum holds a wide range of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography from a plethora of different periods of art. For example, there is an excellent collection of Cubist artworks from the likes of Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. See also several significant artworks by Max Ernst and Kazimir Malevich.
This watercolour on parchment features heightened white body color and gold, on vellum in order to produce that stunning finish that can also be found in his single wing depiction. For centuries artists have found innovative ways of depicting some truly beautiful creatures, with British artist George Stubbs perhaps being the most thorough in terms of study and research.
It was relatively rare for artists from the Renaissance to use some of the genres in which Albrecht Durer was involved. Allegorical pieces were the norm, or perhaps portraits, but seldom few were there depictions of animals in this style.