The first room is dedicated to workshops and masters of the visual arts from the period of Goethe’s youth.
In the middle of the 18th century, art in Frankfurt was still considered a learnable and teachable handicraft. Masters imparted it in their workshops and organised themselves into guilds. A brisk art business prevailed in the city. Shaped by the late baroque, painters took their orientation above all from Dutch models and in their workshops specialized on subjects such as Rhine landscapes, nocturnal scenes, conflagrations, or still lifes. Numerous collections emerged in the city, and the still new scholarly treatment of art also flourished.
Johann Caspar Goethe was one of the Frankfurt collectors and promoters of art. He specialized in contemporary painting from his immediate environs and thus “for several years kept all of Frankfurt’s artists busy”. His son Johann Wolfgang reported that from his “earliest youth he knew” artists such as Schütz, Trautmann, and Seekatz and “often visited them in their workshop”, he was also well acquainted with the Morgenstern family of painters. The matter-of-course contact with art, the skill of precise observation practiced from an early age, but also the artistic taste of his family home remained formative throughout Goethe’s life.