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»Gott segne Kupfer« Goethes Kunstbeschreibungen im Zeitalter der semitechnischen Reproduzierbarkeit

Mattias Pirholt

Published online:

01 Sep 2017



This study investigates how the experience of reproductions – drawings, copperplate engravings, woodcuts, lithography, plaster casts, and so forth – influenced Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s conception of art in general and his descriptions of art (e.g., ekphrases, reviews, and autobiographical accounts) in particular. Well acquainted with the technologies of reproduction of his time, Goethe, often in collaboration with Johann Heinrich Meyer, acknowledged the crucial role of reproductions for the understanding of the productive idea of the original work. Experiences of reproductions and comparisons between copies, drafts, and the original enabled Goethe to grasp the idea as an ever-transforming productive constant of the continuous process of becoming of the work.

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