Werther and Faust

Trautmann, whom Goethe knew from his childhood on, had a fondness for dramatically illuminated nocturnes in the manner of Rembrandt. Here, sorcerers and treasure-hunters are active in a ruin by torchlight. With a grimoire, animal skulls, and snake, the magician conjures up spirits to show where the treasure is hidden. In the background two figures observe the uncanny activities from the shelter of an archway. The historical alchemist Doctor Faustus, the model for Goethe’s Faust, was thought to be such a sorcerer.