Thomas Schweicker

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Self-portrait ThomasSchweicker2.jpg

Thomas Schweicker (December 21, 1540 October 7, 1602) was a German artist and calligrapher. He was noted for being a painter even though he had no arms or hands.

Mouth and foot painting painting done with mouth and feet instead of hands, usually by an artist with a disability

Mouth and foot painting is a technique to create drawings, paintings and other works of art by maneuvering brushes and other tools with the mouth or foot. The technique is mostly used by artists who through illness, accident or congenital disability have no use of their hands. The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (AMFPA) is a worldwide organization representing these artists.

Calligraphy visual art related to writing

Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument, brush, or other writing instruments. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner".

Painting practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. The final work is also called a painting.



Schweicker was born in Schwäbisch Hall, to Hans and Dorothee Schweicker. His father was a baker and a councilor and his mother was a housewife. By age seven, he began his schooling, and by age twelve, he was enrolled in the Swabian Haller Latin school. He has been a subject of study for his skill at painting and writing. [1] One of his more noted works is the self-portrait, which acts as a memorial tablet on his tomb. [2]

Schwäbisch Hall Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Schwäbisch Hall, or Hall for short is a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and capital of the district of Schwäbisch Hall. The town is located in the valley of the Kocher river in the north-eastern part of Baden-Württemberg.

Injury and loss of arms

Schweicker lost his arms in a duel with a German noble named Noah von Williamsburg. The two dueled over the right to court a female that the two were both infatuated with. In the duel, Schweicker's left arm was dismembered by von Williamsburg's sword but he continued to duel with his right arm. After a long and drawn out duel, von Williamsburg dismembered Schweicker's right arm as well. Schweicker finally admitted defeat before passing out from blood loss. Spectators on the scene of the duel brought an injured and unconscious Schweicker back to the town of Schwäbisch Hall where a doctor was able to cauterize his wounds, saving his life. After waking up, Schweicker yelled "Abwarten, was passiert" to the doctor and family. This loosely translates to "wait what happened" in English. Schweicker's arms were burned the next day. [3] Schweicker was known as a "great miracle man of Schwäbisch Hall" by the locals while he recovered.

Duel arranged engagement in combat between two individuals

A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules. Duels in this form were chiefly practiced in early modern Europe with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among military officers.

Noah von Williamsburg was a minor German noble and skilled fencer. He is known for beating famous German artist Thomas Schweicker in a duel that cost the artist both arms.

Cauterization is a medical practice or technique of burning a part of a body to remove or close off a part of it. It destroys some tissue in an attempt to mitigate bleeding and damage, remove an undesired growth, or minimize other potential medical harm, such as infections when antibiotics are unavailable.

Life after injury

After recovering from his injuries, he moved to the home of his brother David Schweicker.He began practicing calligraphy as he had nothing else to do, and eventually, his skills developed so well that he was able to earn enough income from inscribing and calligraphy that he was able to make a living. Not only was he making enough money to live off of, he became a local celebrity, with pictures of him appearing in pamphlets from the time period. He became so popular that emperor Maximilian II came to visit him. The emperor was so impressed by Schweiker that he brought him onto his court where he remained until 1598.

Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor King of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia

Maximilian II, a member of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor from 1564 until his death. He was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague on 14 May 1562 and elected King of Germany on 24 November 1562. On 8 September 1563 he was crowned King of Hungary and Croatia in the Hungarian capital Pressburg. On 25 July 1564 he succeeded his father Ferdinand I as ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.


Schweicker died in the evening of October 7, 1602 after a small bout of illness. Historians believe the cause of death was complications due to dysentery due to the described symptoms of an inflamed pelvis region and a fever of the body. He was buried on a plot of land paid for by Noah von Williamsburg, the noble that he had dueled over four decades prior. Before he died, Schweicker created a self portrait, which was memorialized on his tombstone. [2]

Dysentery inflammation of the intestine causing diarrhea with blood

Dysentery is an inflammatory disease of the intestine, especially of the colon, which always results in severe diarrhea and abdominal pains. Other symptoms may include fever and a feeling of incomplete defecation. The disease is caused by several types of infectious pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Fever common medical sign characterized by elevated body temperature

Fever, also known as pyrexia and febrile response, is defined as having a temperature above the normal range due to an increase in the body's temperature set point. There is not a single agreed-upon upper limit for normal temperature with sources using values between 37.5 and 38.3 °C. The increase in set point triggers increased muscle contractions and causes a feeling of cold. This results in greater heat production and efforts to conserve heat. When the set point temperature returns to normal, a person feels hot, becomes flushed, and may begin to sweat. Rarely a fever may trigger a febrile seizure. This is more common in young children. Fevers do not typically go higher than 41 to 42 °C.

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  1. The New York Academy of Medicine
  2. 1 2 The Rough guide to Germany By Gordon McLachlan pg 260
  3. Eraji, Mohamed. "Mouth and Foot painting". artyadshq. Shanghai Tongo. Retrieved 16 September 2018.