Since you so concerned that I should not neglect my drawing, I would prefer to say nothing at all about the question than to admit how little I have done of late.
I have never felt happier, and my feelings for Nature, down to tiny pebbles and blades of grass, have never been so full and acute, and yet – I do not know how to express myself; my imaginative powers are so weak, and everything slides and shifts before my soul, so that I cannot grasp the outlines; but I fancy I might make a go of it if I had some clay or wax to model. If things are like this much longer I really shall get some clay and model it, even if all I produce is dumplings!
I have started on a portrait of Lotte three times, and three times I have failed disgracefully; which depresses me all the more since I could take a very good likeness not so long ago. So then I cut a silhouette profile of her, and that will have to do.
© Translation by Michael Hulse,1989. Penguin Classics, 1989
Silhouette of Charlotte Sophie Henriette Buff, 1753-1828, the model for Lotte in The Sorrows of Young Werther. © Bildatlas zur Geschichte der Deutschen Nationalliteratur by Gustav Koennecke.
Georg Melchior Kraus, 1737-1806. Goethe mit der silhouette. ©Goethe Haus, Frankfurt