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Goethe in the Roman Campagna

Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt


Rudolf M. Bisanz offers his opinion on the significance of Tischbein’s Goethe in the Roman Campagna :

“The product of a transitional period in art history and of a restless and quickly changing aesthetic climate, the painting was, from the start, entangled in extra-pictorial associations. Literature, the classics, history, archaeology, physiognomy, art theory, and politics, to name just the topmost interdisciplinary connections, furnished its references. Its cultural celebrity status reached its zenith in 1887, its centennial, when at the height of the Goethe cult during the Gründerzeit [age of rapid economic growth], Freifrau von Rothschild donated the work to the Staedelsches Kunstinstitut.”

Rudolf M. Bisanz, “The Birth of a Myth: Tischbein’s Goethe in the Roman Campagna,” Monatshefte, vol. 80, no. 2 (Summer 1988): 187.

About the Artist

Born: Haina, Hesse (near Kassel), 1751
Died: Eutin, Holstein, 1829
Nationality: German