The Little Owl Albrecht Durer Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The Little Owl is a watercolour on paper by Albrecht Durer from 1506 and is owned by the Albertina Museum in the Austrian city of Vienna

This is just on example of the stunning animal paintings produced by this Renaissance master at a time when this genre was rarely seen in the mainstream art scene. He would also famously depict a Young Hare, a Stag Beetle and also several depictions of a blue roller and its individual wing.

Whilst this was a predominantly watercolour painting, there was also use of gouache and pen in order to bring out certain details of the owl and add lighting effects. The sharp talons are similar to elements of his work with insects but the artist goes against the normal use of owls as symbols of the dangers of the night. He prefers an honest, somewhat charming portrait which communicates his respect for this creature's beauty.

Whilst the detail used here, particularly in the plumage of the bird, is not up to the same level as several of his other depictions of birds, there is still much to see and enjoy in this small watercolour. There is relatively little known about this individual piece but it receives exposure as part of his impressive series of animal watercolours.

Many artists would tackle individual plants, animals or insects as part of a study piece for a larger composition, but this was rarely the case with Albrecht Durer. He dated each and every one of the watercolours that you find in this website, underlining how he was treating each one as a significant painting in its own right. Whilst some may then be included in other paintings did not make these any less important.

The Albertina Museum holds many more impressive artworks from the Northern Renaissance, besides just this Little Owl watercolour. They also cover other art movements in detail too, including the likes of Rene Magritte, Edvard Munch, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso from the more recent centuries.