Saturday, December 18, 2010

Goethe's Deathbed Portrait

After the last post (see below) concerning the eBay offer of a drawing of Goethe on his deathbed, I started looking for some more information on the artist, Friedrich Preller, and was able to find the original drawing on the Zeno website, a good source for German texts. If you compare it with the eBay drawing, you can see that the latter is not original.

As I wrote in the previous post, Goethe was instrumental in sending Preller to study painting in Italy, but some of the images Wikipedia links to definitely place Preller in the tradition of German Romantic artists, toward whose work Goethe was decidedly unfavorable. For instance, the very moody work below, entitled Storm on the Coast, from 1856. Thus, he headed in the Romantic direction after Goethe's death. Goethe would have turned over in his grave had he known of that.

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