In 1770, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe saw the Strasbourg Cathedral for the first time. He was overwhelmed and forced to confront his ideas on architecture, ideas learned from his Leipzig art teacher Adam Friedrich Oeser, but also from reading both French and German aesthetic theory. Confronted by what he saw as the brilliant totality of the cathedral’s architecture, Goethe later, in 1771 and 1772, wrote an essay seeking to clarify his thoughts on the Strasbourg Cathedral in particular and Gothic architecture in general. This essay, published at the end of 1772 (with the year 1773 on the title page), has come to be regarded as one of Goethe’s most important texts on architecture.
“Von deutscher Baukunst