Deaf History, Europe

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1625 - 1700: Johannes Thopas, Painter (NL)

1625 - 1700: Johannes Thopas, Painter (NL)

Above: Portrait of Godert Dircksz. Kerckrinck ca. 1662

Johannes Thopas (ca. 1626 – 1688/95), born deaf, was one of the few artists in the Golden Age who specialized in drawn portraiture. He was especially a virtuoso in lead marker on parchment.

His earliest known works from 1646, in the collection of the Fondation Custodia in Paris, show that Thopas was a particularly talented draftsman from an early age. He portrayed both famous and unknown people.

The artist was born in Arnhem, after the death of his father his mother remarried a mayor of Emmerich. After that Thopas worked in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Assendelft, because of his disability always under the care of a guardian and living with relatives.


Portrait of probably Catharina Margaretha van Valkenburg. 1682, source:

Film about Johannes Thopas by Rembrandt House Museum. Sign Language of the Netherlands and English subtitles


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