There are some paintings, by other German painters in the 19th century, that likewise offer similarly intimate domestic settings, usually occupied by women. Here are a couple of my favorites. The one on the left, Caroline at the Window (1822), is by Caspar David Friedrich. Though separated from it by only 20 years, the one on the right, by Adolph von Menzel, is very modern in its feeling compared to Friedrich's painting: The Balcony Room (1845). The woman seems to be here by implication. One I really like, however, is below these two, Before the Mirror, by Georg Friedrich Kersting. It was painted in 1827, which means it probably reflects domestic arrangements in the last decade of Goethe's life. Kersting was from northern Germany and, like Friedrich, he also studied painting in Denmark.
And speaking of Denmark, the longevity of this window motif can be seen in the work of a later artist, from Copenhagen, Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916).
While Goethe is alone, he does not seem as solitary as the women in the later paintings. Still, he is separate from the life on the street, which he seems to be observing, rather than participating in. This separation from the life of contemporary Rome actually characterized Goethe's behavior. He spent most of his time while in Rome with other Germans, for instance. His major literary efforts while there concerned the completion of works he had begun before coming to Rome. As Boyle writes, Rome was "no rebirth for his poetry," as he produced no lyrical poetry of note, "or indeed any substantial new literary work at all." Nevertheless, Goethe underwent a significant personal change in Rome. The distant posture in the Tischbein drawing perhaps presages the later distant, "Olympian" Goethe.