Faust and Marguerite
Hendrik Jan August Leys, Belgian, 1815 - 1869
This painting shows a moment in Goethe's dramatic poem Faust.
Faust stands with the demonic Mephistopheles behind an iron screen, and he first spies the chaste Marguerite emerging from a church. Faust demands that Mephistopheles secure Marguerite's love for him. Leys has followed Goethe's description in his depiction of Marguerite as a young woman of modest or lower social standing with red lips, glowing cheeks, and downcast eyes.
Like many nineteenth-century artists, Leys was interested in the Middle Ages. Here he dresses the characters in medieval costume and sets the scene at a medieval cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium.