The Trefileria on Peignitz I 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 Trefileria on Peignitz I by Albrecht Durer is a Northern Renaissance cityscape by the German artist. This is one of Durer's early watercolours and is thought to have been painted in 1489.

The picture is rich in detail with buildings and nature. It is done from a high point, and the panorama extends into the far horizon. The foreground is of a partly hidden house on the right, and there are trees near and around the house. On the right foreground is a fenced-off section with trees and an open space between the house and fenced-off trees. The middle ground is a river with a bridge over it and on the other side of the riverbank, other buildings. The background depicts a cluster of houses, a meandering path, and hills in the furthest background. The building in the foreground is the Grossweiden Mill, and the river is the River Pegnitz which is in Nuremberg. The location of the painting was near St. John's Church which was on the north bank of the river.

A mill wheel is visible against one of the buildings, and on the other side of the river is the Kleinweiden Mill. In the background is a depiction of the villages that are on the periphery of the city and beyond the village, on the mountains. Even though this is one of Durer's earliest watercolours, it is quite detailed, creating a depth and three-dimensional quality that is evident in most of his work of nature. He used the brown, green and blue tones that he favoured in his landscapes and cityscapes. The brown colour is predominantly in the foreground, the green tones in the middle ground while the blue tones become lighter towards the far end of the background.

The painting uses soft brush strokes for the colours to blend into each other almost seamlessly. There are no harsh contrasts in the picture. The brush strokes technique lends a stillness to the painting. This detail in The Trefileria on Peignitz I is reminiscent of late medieval workshop tradition. Durer used fine glazes, a technique he would adopt with his subsequent watercolours. The glazed finish was developed using thinner watercolours, a departure from the use of heavier variations that he used previously. The late medieval workshop tradition later became an emphatic influence in Durer's artistic work. He brought together the Italian Renaissance technique of art that he was exposed to when he visited Italy and his German artistic influences stemming from Wolgemut, who tutored him at the beginning of his artistic journey. The Trefileria on Peignitz I is currently housed in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, in the city of Berlin in Germany.