Stefano della Bella

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Stefano Della Bella
Dolci Stefano Della Bella.jpg
Portrait by Carlo Dolci
Born18 May 1610
Florence, Italy
Died12 July 1664
Nationality Italian
Known for Engraver
Movement Baroque

Stefano della Bella (18 May 1610 – 12 July 1664) was an Italian draughtsman and printmaker known for etchings of a great variety of subjects, including military and court scenes, landscapes, and lively genre scenes. He left 1052 prints, and several thousand drawings, but only one known painting. [1] He was born and died in Florence, Italy.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Etching intaglio printmaking technique

Etching is traditionally the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio (incised) in the metal. In modern manufacturing, other chemicals may be used on other types of material. As a method of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique for old master prints, and remains in wide use today. In a number of modern variants such as microfabrication etching and photochemical milling it is a crucial technique in much modern technology, including circuit boards.

Florence Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Contents

Life

Della Bella was born at Florence to a family of artists, and was apprenticed to a goldsmith, [2] but became an engraver working briefly under Orazio Vanni and then Cesare Dandini. [3] He studied etching under Remigio Cantagallina, who had also been the instructor of Jacques Callot. [2] Della Bella's early prints are very similar to those of Callot. The patronage of the Medicis enabled Della Bella to live and study for six years in Rome, living in the Medici palace, producing vedute and drawings of antiquities as well as crowded images of public occasions in a series of sketchbooks. Many of these images were later turned into prints. He also made trips to Florence to record and assist the court festivities of the Medici. In this period Della Bella's style developed from Mannerist to Baroque. [4]

Goldsmith metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals

A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Historically, goldsmiths also have made silverware, platters, goblets, decorative and serviceable utensils, ceremonial or religious items, and rarely using Kintsugi, but the rising prices of precious metals have curtailed the making of such items to a large degree.

Cesare Dandini Italian painter

Cesare Dandini was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in his native city of Florence.

Remigio Cantagallina Italian painter

Remigio Cantagallina was an Italian etcher active in the Baroque period.

Work in Rome

In Rome, Della Bella created a series of six prints forming a long, 2.5-meter panel, showing the Polish Ambassador’s Ceremonial Entry into Rome in 1633. He also created a number of prints of views of Rome. [5]

Paris and the return to Florence

In 1639, Della Bella went to Paris and lived there until 1650. He adapted his style to French tastes, and was influenced by Rembrandt and other Dutch print makers. Della Bella made trips to Holland and North Africa. [6]

Rembrandt 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was also an avid art collector and dealer.

The majority of Della Bella's prints date from the years in Paris; he had arrived four years after the death of Callot, and was already known to important French publishers. In 1641 Cardinal Richelieu sent him to Arras to make drawings for prints of the siege and taking of that town by the royal army, [2] and in 1644 Cardinal Mazarin commissioned four sets of educational playing cards for the young Louis XIV. His ornament prints were very innovative, seeming to look forward to the Rococo. [7]

Cardinal Richelieu French clergyman, noble and statesman

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, 1st Duke of Richelieu and Fronsac, commonly referred to as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French clergyman, nobleman, and statesman. He was consecrated as a bishop in 1607 and was appointed Foreign Secretary in 1616. Richelieu soon rose in both the Catholic Church and the French government, becoming a cardinal in 1622, and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. He remained in office until his death in 1642; he was succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin, whose career he had fostered.

Cardinal Mazarin Catholic cardinal

Cardinal Jules Mazarin, born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino[ˈdʒuːljo raiˈmondo madːzaˈriːno] or Mazzarini, was an Italian cardinal, diplomat and politician, who served as the chief minister to the kings of France Louis XIII and Louis XIV from 1642 until his death. In 1654 he acquired the title Duke of Mayenne, and in 1659, 1st Duke of Rethel and Nevers.

Rococo 18th-century artistic movement and style

Rococo, less commonly roccoco, or "Late Baroque", is a highly ornamental and theatrical style of decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, and trompe l'oeil frescoes to create the illusions of surprise, motion and drama. It first appeared in France and Italy in the 1730s and spread to Central Europe in the 1750s and 1760s. It is often described as the final expression of the Baroque movement.

Della Bella also engraved views of Paris, including a very large print of the Pont Neuf, looking south from the entrance of the Place Dauphine, with topographically accurate depictions of the buildings south of the bridge on the banks of the Seine, such as the Church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, the Petit Bourbon and the Louvre Palace on the right bank and the Hôtel de Nevers, the Tour de Nesle, and in the distance, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the left. The road over the bridge and in front of the central platform with the statue of Henri IV is crowded with carriages, wagons, people, and animals. Among the 451 distinct figures are beggars, gypsies, hurdy-gurdy players, children and tooth-pullers, with horses, donkeys, dogs, and even a lamb. [8]

French anti-Italian feeling during the Fronde, and the death of Mazarin probably forced della Bella's return to Florence, where he obtained a pension from the grand duke, whose son, Cosimo III de Medici, he instructed in drawing. [2] He continued to send plates to Paris publishers. Della Bella is known to have illustrated some discoveries for Galileo, and depicted Hansken the famous elephant, when dead. In his final years he produced a number of prints experimenting with tonal effects, though these were little known at the time; he had long made much use of wash in his drawings, and was now attempting with considerable success to achieve similar effects in etching, though only a few good impressions could be taken from the plate. [9] In 1661 he appears to have suffered a stroke, after which he produced little work.

Antonio Francesco Lucini was one of his pupils in Florence.

Notes

  1. Reed, 234; Massar
  2. 1 2 3 4 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Della Bella, Stefano"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 965.
  3. Massar
  4. Massar; Reed, 234–236
  5. Massar
  6. Reed, 234
  7. Massar
  8. Massar
  9. Reed, 242; Massar

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Further reading