(b. 1539, Schaffhausen, d. 1584, Strasbourg)


Swiss draughtsman, part of a family of artists. Christoph Stimmer I (c. 1490-1562) worked in Konstanz as a schoolmaster from 1520 to 1532, but was also a calligrapher and painter. There are glass paintings (14 panels, 1524-25) signed with his name in Pfullendorf Town Hall, and he also used contemporary prints by such artists as Hans Leu II, Niklaus Manuel and Hans Holbein the Younger as models for his compositions. In 1532 he moved to Schaffhausen, where he became a citizen and a member of the guild in 1535, and worked as a bookbinder in 1558. Of his 11 children, Tobias Stimmer was the most famous, and at least five of his other sons were also artists. Christoph Stimmer II (c. 1522-c. 1562) was a calligrapher, Abel Stimmer (1542-c. 1606) was a painter and etcher, Gideon Stimmer (1545-1577) was a painter and designer of stained glass, Hans Christoffel Stimmer (1549-c. 1578) was a pattern-cutter and Josias Stimmer (1555-after 1574) was a painter.

No details are known of Tobias Stimer's apprenticeship, which he must have completed c. 1556. His early drawings (1557 and 1558) show surprising self-assurance and by the early 1560s were of extremely high quality, as is shown by Christ on the Cross (1561; London, British Museum), Crucifixion (1562; New York, Pierpont Morgan Library) and Squirrel Eating a Nut (c. 1563; Zurich, Kunsthaus;), a brush drawing with white highlights in watercolour and bodycolour, notable for its naturalistic style and reminiscent of Albrecht Dürer's studies of nature. His Self-portrait (c. 1563; Donaueschingen, Fürstenberg Sammlungen), a pen and watercolour drawing in brown over a preparatory drawing in chalk, is a striking departure from the norm of self-portrayal: his head is bent down so that his right eye is completely obscured by his nose, a position that could hardly have been seen by looking in the mirror. In a second Self-portrait (1569; Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum) a pen drawing with white highlights, Stimmer posed with his head imperiously raised. He also produced a group of drawings for bannerets, for example Banneret of Berne (c. 1569; Zurich, Kunsthaus), a pen drawing with white highlights on a red ground.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.