Goethe and his Works (c. 1835)
Many of the works portrayed here would have enjoyed widespread recognition, particularly among Germany's educated public and theatergoers. The painting’s border features scenes (clockwise, from top left) from Elective Affinities, Tasso, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Götz von Berlichingen (Iron Hand), Egmont, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, Faust, Hermann and Dorothea, Clavigo, and Iphigenia in Tauris. Spanning the poet’s entire life, some of these works also exemplify the literary movements with which they are associated – for example, Götz von Berlichingen, a drama about a rebellious medieval knight (1773), represents the Sturm und Drang [Storm and Stress] movement, whereas the verse drama Hermann and Dorothea (1797) exemplifies the so-called Weimar Classicism. Others, such as The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the epistolary novel about a sentimental hero who eventually commits suicide, left their mark on generations of readers; Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1796) became the archetypical Bildungsroman of the German educated bourgeoisie; and Goethe’s most famous drama, Faust (Part One: 1808; Part Two: posthumously, 1832), examines the character of a scholar who tragically probes the complexity of human existence in a pact with the devil. Painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, c. 1835.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Original: Frankfurt am Main, Freies Deutsches Hochstift