Johann von Goethe, German author

Johann von Goethe, German author

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Credit: SMETEK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German author and scientist, parodied holding a mobile phone. One of the greatest figures in German literature, Goethe also applied himself to science. As an anatomist, he made important discoveries about the skeleton. His botanical study was published as 'Metamorphosis of Plants', stating that all plant structures were modified leaves. He was an early evolutionist who believed that animals became more specialised through the ages. Goethe also wrote about optics, but incorrectly opposed Newton's theory that white light was made of several colours. This artwork is based on 'Goethe in the Roman Campagna' (1787) by German painter Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein.

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