(b. 1761, Hanau, d. 1823, Aachen)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe1800
Chalk drawing, 955 x 534 mm
Goethe was a German poet, novelist, playwright, courtier, and natural philosopher, one of the greatest figures in Western literature. In literature Goethe gained early fame with The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), but his most famous work is the poetic drama in two parts, Faust, which he started around the age of twenty three and did not finish till shortly before his death sixty years later. He is considered one of the greatest contributors of the German Romantic period.
Like the famous character of his poem, Goethe was interested in alchemy. He also made important discoveries in connection with plant and animal life, and evolved a non-Newtonian and unorthodox theory of the character of light and colour, which has influenced such abstract painters as Kandinsky and Mondrian.