The life-sized silhouette beside the door displays the profile of Charlotte Buff. Goethe got to know her in Wetzlar during his internship at the Imperial Chamber Court. The unhappy love for Lotte, who was engaged to someone else, found its way into the epistolary novel The Sorrow of Young Werther, published in 1774. The story of a passionate love caused a sensation; it was devoured enthusiastically especially by young readers and unleashed a veritable “Werther” cult. The 25-year-old author was now famous throughout Europe, but also infamous, for with the suicide of its unhappy eponymous hero, Goethe had broken a taboo and created a scandal.
Back from Wetzlar, in his family home in Frankfurt Goethe hung Charlotte’s silhouette beside the door to his room.