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Goethe

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Critical Review

Here Warhol depicts prominent German philosopher, theorist and scientist Goethe, in a collection of four different coloured screen prints. The screen prints in colour all come in a limited edition size of 100.

Each print in the collection depicts Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of the greatest German literary figures of the modern times. Goethe was a polymath who became a prominent philosopher, scientist and colour theorist and had a profound and long-lasting impact on modern thought. The prints in the collections are all based on a painting of Goethe by Johan Tischbein which is regarded as the most famous portrait in Germany.

Warhol renders Goethe in his signature Pop Art style, characterised by an emphasis on bold and vibrant colours and the use of hand drawn lines which are added after the printing process to imbue the prints with detail. The use of graphic lines which contour the image sets up an interesting dichotomy between classical portraiture and the resulting, highly contemporary image. By transforming an iconic painting made by a renowned classical painter through the use of a Pop Art aesthetic, Warhol calls into question the way we judge an artwork based on originality and authorship and prompts the viewer of the piece to think about what exactly constitutes the value of art.