I based this painting on a famous poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) called "Der Erlkönig."
Goethe was a German poet, novelist, dramatist, scientist, theorist and painter. One of his well-known plays is "Faust." Goethe prided himself most for his scientific accomplishments, particularly with regard to his Theory of Colour.
In 1990, when I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in German, I did my thesis on Goethe. Part of the thesis included my performing Goethe's Der Erlkönig (in it's original German) by memory. I had already memorized the poem in high school so it was easy. Today, the entire verse is still indelibly etched in my mind.
My fascination with Goethe sprung out of encouragement I received, at an early age, from my father, José Rodríguez Bernard. He told me that from Germany and Austria, there hailed many groundbreaking scientists and doctors (such as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud), composers (such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and the bunch), and poetic dramatists (such as Johann Goethe and Bertolt Brecht). My father said that it would benefit me in knowing the German language, because I would therefore be able to read the documents of those pioneers in their original language. My dad also said that I would enjoy learning German, because the language in itself is very scientific.
To read more about the inspiration behind this painting and the poem from which it is inspired, click here.