Johann Wolfgang Goethe lived in the house on Frauenplan for 50 years until his death in 1832, apart from his journeys and a lengthy stay in Italy. He first moved into the Baroque house which built in 1709 on June 1, 1782 as a tenant. In 1792, Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach purchased the property and gave it to his state minister Goethe, who by then had been ennobled, in 1794. Goethe had the building reconstructed according to his own designs as the only owner. The most significant changes made to the house were the construction of a spacious staircase with three passageways and the corresponding niches for sculptures, and the mounting of stucco friezes. This reconstruction work reflects Goethe’s ideology of classical art.
The part of the house facing the town contains the elegant living, social and collection rooms, while the back of the house with the working areas is looking at the spacious gardens. The front and back of the house are linked by two passages on the upper floor; these bridge the coach house and inner courtyard with the fountain. Goethe lived here not only with his family, but also with several servants and house mates such as his friend and advisor, the artist Johann Heinrich Meyer at the times.
Besides serving as a place to live and work, the great house gave Goethe the opportunity to expand his art and nature collection constantly until it reached the dimensions that are still being preserved today. The 18 accessible rooms show not only original furniture and other belongings of the household, but also personal mementoes and numerous objects from all parts of Goethe’s collection: hand drawings, paintings, sculptures, bronzes, majolica, coins and medallions. The arrangement and display of the collection largely corresponds to their presentation during the last years of the poet’s life. The highlight of the tour is Goethe’s study with its authentic furnishings and the view of the adjoining private library.
The garden was mainly looked after by Goethe’s wife Christine, and served above all to supply the large household with fruit and vegetables. Around 1794, Goethe periodically performed botanical experiments and earmarked some of the beds for systematic planting. In 1817, the garden was expanded to the east through the acquisition of the so-called »Treuter Garden«. With this purchase, Goethe also acquired the garden house on Ackerwand where he kept his mineral collection. The garden is today maintained in the condition of the 1820s, although the former vegetable beds have been replaced with lawns.
Goethe's Residence is situated in the same building as the Goethe National Museum. For further information on the Goethe National Museum please see Goethe National Museum.
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