Goethe with Johann August Friedrich John (1831)
Toward the end of his life, Goethe (1749-1832) withdrew from the social and cultural scene in Weimar, whose intellectual milieu had been a source of inspiration for his major works. While he continued to write and publish – Wilhelm Meister’s Travels (1829), Faust II (1832) – he concentrated on organizing his oeuvre with the assistance of various secretaries. Less well-known than Johann Peter Eckermann (1792-1854) was his secretary Johann August Friedrich John (1794-1854), who is depicted here. John also acted as Goethe’s accountant and even as his interior decorator. Oil painting by Johann Joseph Schmeller (1796-1841), 1831.