Friday, July 19, 2013

Casa di Goethe

Located at 18 via del Corso, just steps away from the Piazza del Popolo, is the Casa di Goethe, the house where Goethe spent his time in Rome during 1786-1788. Here, he lived with the German painter, Tischbein. Though most of the displays are facsimiles (originals being located in German museums and other places), it is still a moving experience to wander through his old rooms. One can just imagine Goethe, in his stockinged feet, leaning out the window to look at the street below, as depicted in Tischbein's 1787 drawing! And, they have posters of that for sale (had to buy a copy). In one corner of the largest room, which was Tischbein's studio, an easel holds a copy of the artist's most famous work, Goethe in the Campagna (also 1787), which is very striking, and surrounded by excerpts of Goethe's Italian Journey printed on the walls. There's even a copy of the huge Jupiter bust Goethe purchased while living here. What was perhaps most interesting, however, was to view Goethe's actual books, excerpts from his letters, and his drawings and sketches. Another highlight: Andy Warhol's rendering of Goethe in the Campagna, a visual delight! Here are some photos:

Copy of Tischbein's Goethe in the Campagna (1787), in the studio

Italian Journey excerpt, printed on the wall

Copy of Tischbein's drawing of his friend, Goethe, at the window (1787)

A deep and abiding friendship

Facsimile bust of Jupiter, which Goethe used to pray to each night


Goethe research materials in the library

Warhol's painting, Goethe (1982)

Me, in front of Casa di Goethe, Roma

While I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Keats-Shelley House the other day, I admit that Goethe had more of an impact on me than the Romantics ever did, so visiting the Casa di Goethe was important to me. I was largely self-educated in literature before going back to school, and Goethe's work was some of the first serious lit I ever read--to be standing in his rooms, surrounded by his things (and copies of them), had a bit of a celebratory feel. Now, to hunt down his statue in the Borghese Gardens. Ah, Roma! Ah, Goethe!

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