Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as depicted in pop artist Andy Warhol’s Goethe 271, was a German intellectual and Renaissance thinker of the 19th century. Goethe produced works of poetry and prose and contributed greatly to the literary and scientific communities. He also wrote the Theory of Colours, which includes some of the earliest published ideas about color perception and theory. Goethe is known for his wide variation of literary genres, memoirs, epic and lyric poetry, novels and scientific treatises on botany. He was a highly esteemed celebrity in the literary world by the age of twenty-five. Goethe 271 is almost Napoleonic in its representation of Goethe, with a strong blue outfit contrasted by a blazing red that covers his face and hat.
Goethe 271 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
In his Goethe series, Andy Warhol applies his modern techniques to this classic subject. Throughout the series, Warhol showcases images of Goethe that are superimposed with vibrant colors. This contrast between classic images and new-age colors is a staple of Warhol’s work. Warhol’s obsession with fame and celebrity is also a trademark evident in the Goethe series, as he explores the boundaries between reverence and veneration.