Deaf Arts

Deaf Arts (work in progress)

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+/- 5 BC: Quintus Pedius, Painter (IT) +/- 5 BC: Quintus Pedius, Painter (IT)

  • Quintus Pedius (died about 13) was a Roman painter and the first deaf person in recorded history known by name. He is the first recorded deaf painter and his education is the first recorded education of a deaf child. All that is known about him today is contained in a single passage of the Natural History by the Roman author Pliny the Elder.

1454 - 1513: Pinturicchio, Painter (IT) 1454 - 1513: Pinturicchio, Painter (IT)

  • Bernardino di Betto, known also as Pintoricchio, was born between 1456 and 1460 in Perugia to a modest family of artisans. His real name was Betti Biagi, but he was often called Sordicchio, from his deafness and insignificant appearance, but Pinturicchio was his usual name.

1526 – 1579: Juan Fernandez Navarrete, Painter (ES) 1526 – 1579: Juan Fernandez Navarrete, Painter (ES)

  • Juan Fernandez de Navarrete was born in the beautiful town of Navarre, Spain near the mountain range of the Pyrenees. He was called El Mudo (the mute) since childhood. He lost his hearing at the age of three and never learned to talk.

    Juan's amazing drawings skills became evident when he began communicating his needs by drawing them out with charcoal on paper. The young artist never allowed his disabilities to hamper his dreams or ambitions and allowed his art to become his voice.

1585-1634, Hendrick Avercamp, Painter (NL) 1585-1634, Hendrick Avercamp, Painter (NL)

  • Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634) was one of the first Dutch landscape painters of the 17th century. He was deaf and mute and known as de Stomme van Kampen (“the mute of Kampen”).

    He is especially noted for his winter landscapes of his homeland. His landscapes are characterized by high horizons, bright clear colors, and tree branches darkly drawn against the snow or the sky. His paintings are lively and descriptive, with evidence of solid drawing skills that made him an ideal recorder of his contemporary life.

1723 - 1792: Joshua Reynolds, Painter (UK) 1723 - 1792: Joshua Reynolds, Painter (UK)

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) was an English painter, specialising in portraits.

1742–1810: Richard Crosse, Painter (UK) 1742–1810: Richard Crosse, Painter (UK)

  • Richard Crosse  was a leading English painter of portrait miniatures. Crosse was, like one of his sisters, completely deaf and never able to speak. 

1746 - 1828: Francisco Goya, Painter (ES) 1746 - 1828: Francisco Goya, Painter (ES)

  • In the winter of 1792-93, when Goya was 46, he developed a mysterious illness that nearly killed him. He survived but lost his hearing, and for the next 35 years was “deaf as a stump.”


    And yet, only after the illness did he achieve full mastery of the face in his portraits. Only after his hearing was gone did his skill as a portraitist reach its zenith, possibly, it has been suggested, because deafness made him more aware of gesture, physical expression, and all the minute particulars of how faces and bodies reveal themselves.

1750 – 1829: Charles Shirreff, Painter (UK) 1750 – 1829: Charles Shirreff, Painter (UK)

  • Charles Shirreff was born in either 1749 or 1750. His last name has, at times, been spelled as Sherrif, Sherriff, or Shirref.

    At the age of three or four, Shirreff became deaf and mute. In 1760, his father approached Thomas Braidwood, owner of a school of mathematics in Edinburgh, seeking an education for the boy, then ten years old, in the hope that he could be taught to write.

    Charles became Braidwood's first deaf student; soon afterward, Braidwood founded Braidwood's Academy for the Deaf and Dumb, the first school of its kind in Britain."

1788 – 1839: Eelke Jelles Eelkema, Painter (NL) 1788 – 1839: Eelke Jelles Eelkema, Painter (NL)

  • Eelke Jelles Eelkema (8 July 1788 – 27 November 1839), a painter of landscapes, flowers, and fruit, was born at Leeuwarden (NL) as the son of a merchant. On account of his deafness, which was brought on by an illness at the age of seven, he was educated in the first Dutch institution for the deaf and dumb at Groningen (1799). The Flemish Gerardus de San, first director of the Academie Minerva, instructed Eelkema in the art of drawing.

1799 - 1871: Mathias Stoltenberg (NO) 1799 - 1871: Mathias Stoltenberg (NO)

  • Mathias Stoltenberg (21 July 1799 – 2 November 1871) was a Norwegian painter. He earned his living mostly as a travelling portrait painter and furniture restorer. His paintings were later rediscovered and presented at the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition in Kristiania.

    He lost his sense of hearing as a child, and died in poverty in Vang in 1871.


1823 - 1875: Bruno Braquehais, photographer (FR) 1823 - 1875: Bruno Braquehais, photographer (FR)

  • Bruno Braquehais was born in Dieppe, France in 1823. Although records don’t state how he lost his hearing, Braquehais was deaf from a young age. When he was nine years old, he started at the Royal Institute of the Deaf and Mute in Paris. He later found work as a lithographer.

1829 - 1907: Paul Ritter, Painter (DE) 1829 - 1907: Paul Ritter, Painter (DE)

  • At the age of four, Paul Ritter became deaf due to illness. He became known in particular for his large-format architectural pictures of old Nuremberg with historical figure staffage against the background of the historically faithful architecture of the old town.