Saturday, February 7, 2009

Goethe (by Tischbein), physically & stylistically similar to William Grant (The Skater)?

Goethe in der Campagna, oil on canvas 1786-88 by Wilhelm Tischbein-- (detail)
Click on The Skater in entry before this to see the physical resemblance between the two men.

Yes, this portrait was done a few years after The Skater by Stuart. But, at the time that William Grant commissioned his painting, Goethe was THE CULTURAL SUN radiating all over the globe, after his literary success of young Werther. (This is the story of unrequited love which drives the sensitive young man to suicide; what?! the notion that men can experience emotion?!!! a novel, revolutionary suggestion at the time.) I suggest that Stuart and Grant being, at the time, cultural nobodies, that the earlier painting by Stuart was strongly influenced by the style and social philosophies as then embodied by Goethe. It can easily be speculated that Suart, upon seeing Grant, was startled by Grant's physical similarities to Goethe (or also likely William Grant mentioned that others indicated physical similarities to G>), which led to conversation on the German super-star, possibly leading to the suggestion-Very Unusual as an Arrangement- that Grant be depicted enjoying sport out on the ice on a chilly wintery day!
Also, Goethe hadn't yet let his love-life taint his reputation.
To refresh your memory, how did Goethe tarnish his own celebrity? He COHABITED with an unmarried maiden by the name of Christiane Vulpius, he DID NOT marry her until many years later! This poor lady was snubbed by the "high society" in Weimar, but some condescended to "receive" her, to please Goethe.

No comments:

Site Meter