Many of Delacroix’s graphic works represent literary texts. This sheet is likely a preparatory drawing for a lithograph (shown at right) in an obscure series of prints illustrating Goethe’s play Götz von Berlichingen, first published in German in 1773. Under house arrest on the orders of Emperor Maximilien I, the noble mercenary soldier Götz is shown writing his memoirs in the company of his wife, Elizabeth. In the lithograph, the young, robust Romantic hero has noticeably aged. The dating of this drawing is ambiguous since Delacroix painted the same subject in 1849. It is also possible that the drawing was a study for the painting of the same title, now in a private collection.
Marking: Inscription on verso: Gotz [sic] de Berlichingen
Delacroix studio sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 19, 1864, no. 382 (?).