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Tiger lilies in a glass

Year: 1920
Material: Watercolor
Dimensions: 28 x 40 cm

Life in nature is to recognize the truth in all appearances. So look at it diligently, not judge you for it and go on nature. [...] For true art lies in the nature of who they can tear out who has it.
Albrecht Dürer


Red-orange tiger lilies (Lilium bulbiferum) stand in a glass vase. You are in full bloom - just before wilting, after which the petals lying on the ground and a stamen point. A stem with two flowers is slightly separated from the remaining plants, whose flowers are crowded together. In the sea of ​​flowers peeping out a sheet. Botanically accurate plants painted Fritz Griebel: He shows us the subtle color shading in the petals, the dark red stamens with the powdery pollen and the long, thin, dark green leaves from all views.

His study of nature began Griebel continue in the representation of the glass vase. In the history of painting meant, especially in the Dutch Baroque still life paintings playing transparent glass high artistic skill. Griebel painted the edge of the vessel with fine gray-white straight lines and semicircular. Greenish light reflections on the water transparent and pale red at the bottom of the vase suggest materiality. Skillfully led by Fritz Griebel, the pale red light refractions in the room. Even the seemingly increased plant stems in the vase to create the impression of water and glass.

Already in this early work - Fritz Griebel twenty-one years old when he painted the watercolor - convinced his compositional arrangement. The separated and slightly longer fire lily lends the image an asymmetrical design, the fallen of the petals and stamen is re-harmonized. Total managed the young artists an exciting composition.


Albrecht Dürer: The great lawn, 1503, watercolor and gouache, m. Heightened with opaque white, drawn on cardboard, 40.8 x 31.5 cm, Albertina, Vienna

The study of nature has a long tradition in Nuremberg. World-known example is Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) "" Large Piece of Turf. It is next to the "Iris" (Kunsthalle Bremen) so far only secured the nature study of the artist. The picture shows a section of lawn on a clod of earth with different grasses and herbs on the exact nature study in a lower horizon. In the foreground a shimmering pool of water lined with moss, from which the fine root system draws its moisture. Can easily determine a botanist, the native vegetation: leaf plantain right in the middle ground, daisy, yarrow, dandelion, meadow, and many more. The evolutionary state of the plant suggests that Dürer painted a fat meadow in June. Plants were attributed in the Middle Ages a subservient role as a decorative accessory or symbolic reference, so the first time Dürer painted portraits of plants as the sole image issue - a revolution in painting.

Went a step further, the naturalist and painter Maria Sybille Merian (1647-1717). She was the daughter of Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593-1650), publisher and engraver in Frankfurt and as editor of the "Theatrum Europaeum" and his frequently reproduced views of the city was widely renowned. Already at thirteen Maria Sibylle Merian had begun to paint insects and plants from nature. After insects were thinking of that time the Christian Church "as" Teufelsgeziefer. In her major work "Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium or transformation of the insects of Surinam" from 1705 describes it in texts and engravings of the life cycle of insects in the then Dutch colony of Surinam (Dutch Guiana). Admired the work of his contemporaries, was preceded by a two-year expedition began in 1699. Merian was among the first researchers who systematically observed insects and found out something about their actual lives. So they could show that each butterfly is dependent on a few as a caterpillar food plants and lay their eggs only on these plants.

Maria Sibylle Merian: Lilien, 1705, kolorierter Kupferstich. Aus: Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, Taf. XXII

About the red lily, she writes down her observations in detail, which are also in the picture again:

"These red lilies grow wild on a white onion. Your property is not known. Their green leaves have a sheen like that of silk. I've brought some of the onions. These have in the gardens of Holland first brought flowers and then leaves. The green leaf lying on the hairy caterpillar has a red head and red legs. The body has bruises which are fringed with yellow rings. The hair is black and hard as iron wire. The caterpillar takes the green leaves as food. On 4 June, she has made an oval cocoon, and it is turned into a brown doll, like one is in the middle of the plant, resulting in 30 June, a beautiful butterfly hatched owls. Its front wings were wood or light ocher. The hind wings are orange with black spots, as it shows here the flying moths. The small red and white stripes with green caterpillar I found in Suriname, in addition to these lilies. On 10 August she made a white cocoon, as it lies on the green sheet. From this it is on 24 August, a yellow black fly (as it is shown here) hatched. This caterpillar is completely different from the number 12 on the banana. This, however, is almost a kind of owl butterfly. The greenhouse is the Lilio-Narcissus Polyanthos Cat flore incarnato, fundo ex Luteo albescente Sloane. Jamaice. and was described by Herman in his Prodromus paradisi Batavi under the name Lilium flore Americanum puniceo, Bella Dona dictum. "

All three artists use an objectively inquiring gaze. You go into nature and bring nature into the studio. The observation of nature is here coupled with religious awe. The miracle of creation associated with artistic intensity Maria Sibylle Merian mark life's work. Albrecht Dürer sees truth in all aspects of nature. For him it is the hidden hand of the Creator as an artist. Who the beauty in nature is aware of who they can "pull out", ie draw, which is the true artist, "Life in nature is to recognize the truth in all appearances. So look at it diligently, not judge you for it and go on nature. [...] For true art lies in the nature of who they can tear out who has it. "

Nature is the great teacher of Fritz Griebel. His tiger lily is fine picturesque, almost photo-realistically painted. The study of nature will remain important for his artistic development. But he is more and more look behind the appearances, be removed from the artistic concerns of Durer and their own way.


Maria Sibylle Merian: Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium oder Verwandlung der surinamischen Insekten. Amsterdam 1705 (Digitalisat).
Erwin Panofsky: Das Leben und die Kunst Albrecht Dürers. Hamburg 1977, S. 317.