Mental Floss

A Knight's House: Tobias Stimmer

Andréa Fernandes

In 1566, the Swiss artist Tobias Stimmer (1539-1584) was commissioned to adorn the Haus zum Ritter (Knight's House) in Schauffhausen with frescoes. Today, the Haus zum Ritter's frescoes are considered the "best preserved Renaissance frescoes north of the Alps." A bit about the frescoes and Stimmer:

1. The frescoes on Haus zum Ritter cover a wide range of themes, ranging from the virtues of Swiss knights to portraits of the owner (Hans von Waldkirch, a knight) and the artist himself. Also included are allegories of the virtues maintained by the State and the Church; mythology, including Apollo, Daphne, and Odysseus; self-sacrificing love; and female virtue and male steadfastness.

2. Tobias Stimmer was one of 11 children of Christoph Stimmer, who was not only a schoolmaster but also a well-regarded painter, calligrapher, and bookbinder. At least five of the other Stimmer sons also became artists.

3. Haus zum Ritter was built in 1492 and was originally two individual medieval manor houses. When Hans von Waldkirch rebuilt Haus zum Ritter in 1566, he added on the upper floors. Stimmer spent between two and three years covering the façade of Haus zum Ritter with his frescoes.

4. Though Stimmer was an artist by trade, producing woodcuts for book illustrations, he was also a writer. He authored a comedy in 1580 that "portrays the misunderstandings that arise when a wife plans to seek a lover during her husband's absence." The comedy, titled Comoedia von zweien jungen eeleuten, wie sey sich in fürfallender reiss beiderseitz verhalten, is usually just known as Von zwei Eheleuten.

5. Stimmer's original frescoes were removed from Haus zum Ritter in 1935 and were replaced with reproductions by Carl Roesch. The badly damaged originals are now on display in the Museum zu Allerheiligen (All Saints Museum).

A larger version of the photograph of Haus von Zimmer is available here. Fans should check out this archive of Haus zum Ritter images. "Feel Art Again" appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at with artist suggestions or details of current exhibitions.