From Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Goethe’s Faust, here are eight classic works of literature accompanied by superb paintings and illustrations. All free.
Known now as one of the great Russian Symbolists, in life he was independent, and painted in very modern style from legends and literary sources.
Specialising in still life piled high with dead game, his paintings may now seem horrific. They so inspired Goethe that he dedicated a poem to them.
Two superb series of paintings of scenes from Goethe’s Faust Part One, by Ary Scheffer and James Tissot.
Based more on the legend of Johann Faust, here’s a summary of the second part of Goethe’s play, with paintings and illustrations for it.
Gretchen poisoned her mother and drowned her baby; she is now in jail awaiting execution. Faust wants to rescue her, but Mephistopheles isn’t bothered.
Faust and Mephistopheles attend the witches’ celebrations on the Brocken peak in the Harz Mountains – a wild night, it seems.
Gretchen and Faust become lovers, but her mother dies as a result of Faust’s sleeping potion, and he kills her brother in a sword-fight.
Faust lusts after the young Gretchen. Mephistopheles sets up a meeting, and the girl is soon in love with Faust, ready to do anything for him. And so she does.
Drinking in one of the oldest bars in Leipzig gets the pair into trouble, so they move on to get a witch to rejuvenate Faust. He then lusts after Gretchen.