Erwin von Steinbach was the architect of the west façade of Strasbourg cathedral. Goethe's 1772 essay `Von deutscher Baukunst¿ (On German Architecture) established the cathedral in Strasbourg as the epitome of Gothic architecture in the German-speaking world and as a manifestation of his notion of genius. In Schwind¿s painting an angel leads Steinbach by the hand as he dreams of the work to come. Stained-glass windows are seen glowing in the background. For Schwind, the visual vocabulary of such windows represented an ideal to which German art should aspire.