A couple of large pictures by Hackert have arrived, and anything more perfect, as faithful copies of reality, could scarcely be imagined.
As to my studies and hobbies, I do not know whether I have ever said anything to you about my collection of modern medals in bronze and copper, beginning with the second half of the fifteenth century, and coming down to the most recent times.
I chanced upon this in connection with my revision of Cellini; for, since in the north we must be content with crumbs, it seemed possible for me to gain even an approximately clear survey of plastic art only through the aid of original medals from the various centuries, which, as is generally known, invariably kept close to the sculpture of their time. Through exertion, favor, and good fortune I have already succeeded extremely well in making a rather important collection. Permit me to include a couple of commissions and desiderata.
1. For a couple of old medals said to be in the possession of Mercandetti.
2. For papal medals from Innocent XIII inclusive; I have very fine specimens of Hamerani’s medals of Clement XI.
3. For a medal to be ordered from Mercandetti, a commission which I especially urge both on you and on Humboldt; for the enterprise is, I must admit, a serious one; in the long run, some satisfaction may probably be gained; but should it fail, money will be lost and vexation will be the result.
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GOETHE TO WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT
July 30, 1804.
Months ago I wrote the inclosed sheet to your dear wife. She has recently been here, and I have had the pleasure of conversing with her; she has, so I hear, safely reached Paris and been delivered. I trust that, ere long, she may there embrace your dear brother, who has, in a sense, risen for us from the dead. Your precious letter of February 25 reached me safely in good time, and as I reflect on the long interval during which I have left you without news from me, I now note through what singular emotions I have passed during this time.
Schiller’s Tell has been completed for some time and is now on the stage. It is an extraordinary production wherein his dramatic skill puts forth new branches, and it justly creates a profound sensation. You will surely receive it before long, for it is already in press.
I have permitted myself to be persuaded to try to make my Goetz von Berlichingen suitable for the stage.
This was an undertaking well-nigh impossible, for its very trend is untheatrical; like Penelope, I, too, have ceaselessly woven and unwoven it for a year; and in the process I have learned much, though, I fear, I have not perfectly attained the end which I had in view. In about six weeks I hope to present it, and Schiller will, no doubt, speak to you about it.