Room 14

Goethe: the monument

Carl Gustav Carus: Allegory on the Death of Goethe, after 1832


Christian Daniel Rauch:
Design for a statue of Goethe, 1825

Goethe is elevated by his contemporaries to the status of an Olympian in his own lifetime, a trend that he encourages in old age through the consistent stylization of his life into a work of art: he develops into a monument of himself. No other German poet is portrayed so frequently – or in such variety – or finds so many illustrators for his works.

Some idea of this is given by the busts by C. D. Rauch and C. G. Weisser and the portraits by H. C. Kolbe and M. D. Oppenheim, as well as the illustrations for "Werther", "Tasso", "Faust" and the "Erlkönig". Admiration of Goethe in the 19th century culminated in monument projects (models by C. D. Rauch and P. Marchesi). The monumental statue by L. Schwanthaler (today in the Taunusanlage) that the city of Frankfurt erected in 1844 as a memorial to its greatest son is indicative of the poet's deification.


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