Villa Medici in Rome, etching by Stefano della Bella (305 × 275 mm) View larger
Villa Medici in Rome, etching by Stefano della Bella (305 × 275 mm)
Della Bella (Stefano), 1610-1664

Suite of six etchings of Rome and the Roman Campagna

Paris, after 1656

Six etchings, each circa 311 × 280 mm (platemarks). Individually framed by Paul Levi in walnut with gold edge (each 49 × 44.5 cm).

A fine complete set of Stefano Della Bella’s “Sei grandi vedute”, dependent upon drawings the artist had made during visits to Rome in 1650-1656, engraved at Florence, and the matrices afterwards given to Israel Henriet for printing in Paris. The prints were heralded by Jombert as the most perfect among all the works executed by Della Bella after his residency in France, and they have been prized by collectors ever since, for their painterly style, topographical accuracy, and technical virtuosity.

Subjects
Prints - Artists, Italian - Della Bella (Stefano), 1610-1664
Topographical books and prints - Italy - Rome
Authors/Creators
Della Bella, Stefano, 1610-1664
Artists/Illustrators
Della Bella, Stefano, 1610-1664

Della Bella (Stefano)
Florence 1610 – 1664 Florence

Suite of six views of Rome and the Roman Campagna

[Paris, after 1656]

six etchings, each circa 311 × 280 mm (platemarks), most with margins on three sides and trimmed along the platemark on the right edge, in second state (see below), printed with delicate tone, watermark of grapes with pendant initials (observed in De Vesme 836-837). Diagonal crease (De Vesme 834), otherwise excellent impressions.

Individually framed by Paul Levi in walnut with gold edge (each 49 × 44.5 cm).

provenance Captain Alfred Walter Francis Fuller (1882-1961), sold as ‘The Property of Mrs I. Teed, from the Collection of the late Capt. A.W.F. Fuller’, by Sotheby’s, ‘Important Old Master Engravings Etchings and Woodcuts’, London, 21 March 1972, lot 80 (£210, to E.P. Goldschmidt & Co.) — Franklin H. Kissner (1908-1988), sold by Christie's, ‘The Franklin H. Kissner Collection of Books on Rome’, London, 3 October 1990, lot 105 (£6500 + premium) — Private collection, Dublin

reference Alexandre De Vesme, Stefano della Bella: Catalogue raisonné, edited by P.D. Massar (New York 1971), i, pp.128-129; ii, pp.168-169

A fine complete set of Stefano Della Bella's ‘Sei grandi vedute’, dependent upon drawings the artist had made during visits to Rome in 1650-1656, engraved at Florence, and the matrices afterwards given to Israel Henriet for printing in Paris. The prints are heralded by Jombert as the most perfect among all the works executed by Della Bella after his residency in France,1 and have been prized by collectors ever since, for their painterly style, topographical accuracy, and technical virtuosity.

Despite their celebrity, little attention was paid until recently to paper and state. It has been assumed that there were multiple Italian issues of all six prints, however paper evidence suggesting their number and dates has yet to be assembled.2

A young, well-dressed boy, seated in the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome, sketching the Medici vase, dated 1656.
Platemark 305 × 275 mm, sheet 320 × 290 mm. Second state (of 5?)

The subjects of the six prints are

■ A young, well-dressed boy, seated in the gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome, sketching the Medici vase (De Vesme 832). Platemark 305 × 275 mm, sheet 320 × 290 mm. Inscribed Romae, in hortis Medicaeis vas marmoreum eximium and SDBella f. mdclvi (1656). Second state (of 5?); the first state, misdated d.mdcl, is known only by the impression in Vienna, Albertina, HB ix (2), fol. 12.3 The principal related drawing is at Windsor (image).4

The ‘earliest and most beautiful’ print of the celebrated Medici vase, a monumental marble bell-shaped krater of the 1st century ad (now in the Uffizi);5 it may have been intended as a compliment to the fourteen-year-old Medici heir, later Grand Duke Cosimo iii (1642-1723), who was then Della Bella’s pupil.

Other impressions (second or later states): Berlin, Kunstbibliothek, OS 888 (image); Brescia, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, 11534;6 Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, M.35.255;7 Florence, Uffizi, 102484;8 Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, V 226 (image);9 London, British Museum, X,5.38 (image); London, Victoria & Albert Museum, E.1527A/528-1915 (image); New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 17.50.17-292 (image); Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Eb 24b fol;10 Richmond, VA, University of Richmond Museums;11 San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1963.30.3612 (image); Siena, Biblioteca degli Intronati;12 Veste Coburg, Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, XII,83,367 (image); Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie. Gabinet Rycin;13 Windsor, Royal Collection, RCIN 806143 (image).

Temple of Antonius and the Campo Vaccino, dated 1656.
Platemark 310 × 281 mm, sheet 316 × 281 mm. Second state (of 5?)

■ The Temple of Antonius and the Campo Vaccino (De Vesme 833). Platemark 310 × 281 mm, sheet 316 × 281 mm. Inscribed Templi Antonini Pij, et rudorum Palatinorum fragmenta in foro Boario | SDBella 1656. Second state (of 5?); the previous state, a working proof before addition of the inscription, is known by impressions in the British Museum (1871,0513.694; image), and (reputedly) Vienna, Albertina. Related drawings are in the Biblioteca Marucelliana, vol. D. 112;14 Galleria degli Uffizi, 5995 S; Musée du Louvre, 315.3 recto (image).15

Other impressions: Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts;16 Florence, Uffizi, 102593;17 London, British Museum, X,5.42 (image); Paris, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Est 2249 (image); San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1963.30.3613 (image); Siena, Biblioteca degli Intronati;18 Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie, Gabinet Rycin.19

The Arch of Constantine. Platemark 320 × 274 mm,
sheet 325 × 274 mm. Second state (of 5?)

■ The Arch of Constantine (De Vesme 834). Platemark 320 × 274 mm, sheet 325 × 274 mm. Inscribed SDBella | Arcus Const.ini et Amphit.ri Flavii Panetinae. Second state (of 5?); the previous state, an artist’s working proof before addition of the inscription, reputedly survives in a unique impression (in Vienna, Albertina). Related drawings are in the Musée du Louvre (487, 385.3)20 and Galleria degli Uffizi (272 P).

Other impressions: Florence, Uffizi, 102594;21 London, British Museum, X,5.41 (image); San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1963.30.3614 (image); Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie, Gabinet Rycin22

Temple of Concord (i.e., Temple of Vespasian) and Roman Forum.
Platemark 307 × 274 mm (trimmed to platemark). Second state (of 5?)

■ Temple of Concord (i.e., Temple of Vespasian) and Roman Forum (De Vesme 835). Platemark 307 × 274 mm (trimmed to platemark on all sides). Inscribed SDBella | Templi Concordie inter Capito.um et forum R. Reliquiae. Second state (of 5?); the previous state, an artist’s working proof before addition of the inscription, reputedly survives in a unique impression (in Vienna, Albertina). Related drawing are in the Uffizi (288 P,23 291P, 125725)

Other impressions: Brescia, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, 11535;24 Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, M.35.158;25 Florence, Uffizi, 102595;26 Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, V 204;27 London, British Museum, X,5.43 (image); Rome, Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, FC117405 (image); San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1963.30.3615 (image); Siena, Biblioteca degli Intronati;28 Veste Coburg, Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, XII,89,506; Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie. Gabinet Rycin;29 Washington, DC, Library of Congress, FP-XVII-B433, no. 1052 (image)

Two Horsemen passing a flock of sheep.
Platemark 300 × 264 mm, sheet 310 × 266 mm. Second state (of 5?)

■ Two Horsemen passing a flock of sheep (De Vesme 836). Platemark 300 × 264 mm, sheet 310 × 266 mm. Inscribed SDBella In & F. | cum Pri. Reg. Christ. Second state (of 5?); the previous state, an artist’s working proof with some white spaces in the foliage, reputedly survives in a unique impression (in Vienna, Albertina). A related drawing is in the Uffizi (368 P).

Other impressions: London, British Museum, 1871,0513.699 (image), 1871,0513.698 (image); Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, 20.B.I.80/317 (image); San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1963.30.3616 (image); Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie, Gabinet Rycin.30

Landscape with a woman on a horse, a child in her arms.
Platemark 298 × 264 mm, sheet 309 × 267 mm. Second state (of 5?)

■ Landscape with a woman on a horse, a child in her arms (De Vesme 837). Platemark 298 × 264 mm, sheet 309 × 267 mm. Inscribed SDBella f. Second state (of 5?); the previous state, an artist’s working proof before some retouching with the burin, reputedly survives in a unique impression (in Vienna). Related drawings are in the Musée du Louvre (338-3, 351-2).31

Other impressions: Brescia, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo;32 London, British Museum, 1871,0513.700 (image), 1982,U.4191 (image); Warsaw, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie, Gabinet Rycin.33

Detail, from Two Horsemen passing a flock of sheep

The print of ‘Two Horsemen passing a flock of sheep’ is lettered in lower margin with production detail, cum Pri. Reg. christ. According to Pierre-Jean Mariette, the matrices were given by Della Bella to the French publisher Israel Henriet (1590-1661),34 who obtained for them the ‘privilege du Roy’. It is supposed that the plates passed afterwards to his nephew, Israel Silvestre (1621-1691), thence to the latter’s son-in-law, the Avocat au Parlement Nicolas Petit de Logny, who in turn sold them circa 1691-1699 to the marchand-joiallier Jacques-Philippe Fagnani. In October 1712 and January 1713 Fagnani requested an extension of the original copy-privilege to reissue a recueil of Della Bella prints.35 Sometime thereafter, the matrices for the ‘Sei grandi vedute di Roma’ were acquired by Jacques François Chereau (1742-1794) and/or Jean Audran; impressions supposedly were taken until late in the eighteenth century.

The states recorded by De Vesme36 and Phyllis Massar have been elaborated by Salamon37 and Talbierska, to reflect increasing knowledge of the series’ publication history. Talbierska associates with State i a handful of working proofs, pure etchings, struck in Florence; with State ii, impressions with added inscriptions, and/or retouched with the burin, struck in Florence or by Israel Henriet in Paris, before 1661; with State iii, impressions ‘slightly retouched’ with the burin, ‘probably French issues of Israel Silvestre’; with State iv, impressions showing ‘new traces with burin’, ‘issue of J. Fagnani (?)’; with State v, impressions ‘strongly retouched’, ‘probably issues of J.F. Chereau 1768-1794’.

1. Charles Antoine Jombert, Essai d’un catalogue de l’œuvre d’Etienne de la Belle (Paris 1772), pp.183-184 no. 189 (‘la gravure est supérieure à tout ce qui a paru de lui depuis son retour de France’).

2. Apart from working proofs, there is little evidence of impressions struck in Italy. Cf. Jolanta Talbierska, Stefano Della Bella, 1610-1664: etchings from the collection of the Print Room of the Warsaw University Library (Warsaw 2001), p.163.

3. Eckhart Knab, Jacques Callot und sein Kreis: Werke aus dem Besitz der Albertina und Leihgaben aus den Uffizien, catalogue of an exhibition held in the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, 17 December 1968-2 March 1969 (Vienna 1968), p.183 no. 578 (‘unikum’); Leonarda Di Cosmo, ‘Definizione e diffusione di un modello: le stampe del Vaso Medici veicolo di affermazione di canoni estetici’ in ‘Lavorato all’ultima perfezione’: indagini sul Vaso Medici tra interpretazioni, allestimenti storici e fortuna visiva, edited by Sonia Maffei and Antonella Romualdi (Naples 2010), pp.107-122 (pp.108-109).

4. Anthony Blunt, The drawings of G.B. Castiglione & Stefano della Bella in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle (London 1954), p.93 no. 4649.

5. Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900 (New Haven 1981), p.316.

6. Roberta D’Adda, Stefano della Bella: incisioni della Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, 10 November 2007-17 February 2008 (Brescia 2007), pp.96-97 no. 42-I (reproduced).

7. Caroline Joubert, Stefano Della Bella: 1610-1664, catalogue of an exhibition, Musée des beaux-arts, Caen, 4 July-5 October 1998 (Caen 1998), pp.115-117 no. 48-1 (reproduced).

8. A. Forlani Tempesti, Incisioni di Stefano Della Bella, catalogue accompanying an exhibition held in Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, 1972 (Florence 1973), pp.139-141, no.77a (reproduced fig. 77); Il Seicento fiorentino: arte a Firenze da Ferdinando i a Cosimo iii: disegno, incisione, scultura, arti minori, catalogue of an exhibition held at Palazzo Strozzi, 21 December 1986-4 May 1987 (Florence 1986), pp.418-419 no. 3.39 (reproduced).

9. Dorit Schäfer, Stefano della Bella: ein Meister der Barockradierung, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, 4 June-21 August 2005 (Karlsruhe 2005), pp.218-221 no. 60a (reproduced).

10. D’après l’antique, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, 16 October 2000-15 January 2001 (Paris 2000), pp.381-382 (reproduced).

11. Charles Johnson, Stefano della Bella: Baroque printmaker: the I. Webb Surratt, Jr. print collection, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond Museums, 29 March-23 June 2001 (Richmond 2001), pp.67, 88 no 81.

12. Paola Ballerini, Jacques Callot, Stefano Della Bella, dalle collezioni di stampe della Biblioteca degli Intronati di Siena, catalogue for an exhibition held at Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 9 August-15 October 1976 (Florence 1976), pp.291-294 no. 149.

13. Talbierska, op. cit., pp.163-166 no. 121.

14. Silvia Castelli, Stefano della Bella (1610-1664): disegni della Biblioteca Marucelliana di Firenze, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence, 16 December 2010-16 March 2011 (Florence 2010), pp.114-115 no. 33.

15. Françoise Viatte, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins: Inventaire général des dessins italiens, ii: Dessins de Stefano della Bella, 1610-1664 (Paris 1974), p.58 no. 40.

16. Joubert, op. cit., pp.115-117 no. 48-2 (reproduced).

17. Forlani Tempesti, op. cit., pp.139-141 no. 77-b.

18. Ballerini, op. cit., pp.291-294 no. 150.

19. Talbierska, op. cit., p.164 no. 122.

20. Viatte, op. cit., p.58 no. 41; Joubert, op. cit., p.114 no. 47 (reproduced). Cf. Viatte, op. cit., p.63 nos. 42, 44; Il Seicento fiorentino, op. cit., pp.283-284 no. 2.246 (Florence, Uffizi, 288D).

21. Forlani Tempesti, op. cit., pp.139-141 no. 77-c.

22. Talbierska, op. cit., pp.164-165 no. 123.

23. Caterina Limentani Virdis, Disegni di Stefano della Bella (Sassari [1975]), Tav. 13.

24. Roberta D’Adda, op. cit., p.98 no. 42-II (reproduced).

25. Joubert, op. cit., pp.115-117 no. 48-3 (reproduced).

26. Forlani Tempesti, op. cit., pp.139-141 no. 77-d.

27. Schäfer, op. cit., pp.218-221 no. 60b (reproduced).

28. Ballerini, op. cit., pp.291-294 no. 151.

29. Talbierska, op. cit., p.165 no. 124.

30. Talbierska, op. cit., p.165 no. 125.

31. Viatte, op. cit., nos. 392-393. In the latter entry, Mme Viatte associates Victoria & Albert Museum, D. 1335-1889, however Peter Ward-Jackson, Italian drawings [vol. 2] 17th-18th century [in the Victoria and Albert Museum] (London 1980), p.16 no. 620, believes ‘the connection between our drawing and the plate is not close’.

32. Roberta D’Adda, op. cit., p.99 no. 42-III (reproduced).

33. Talbierska, op. cit., p.166 no. 126.

34. Abecedario de P.J. Mariette et autres notes inédites de cet amateur sur les arts et les artistes, edited by Philippe de Chennevières and Anatole de Montaiglon (Paris 1852-1853), ii, pp.72-73.

35. Peter Fuhring, The Print Privilege in Eighteenth-Century France – ii’ in Print Quarterly 3 (1986), p.23 nos. 9-10. In 1712-1713, Fagnani ordered designs for ornamental frames from Sébastien Leclerc and Gilles-Marie Oppenord for the reissue of the plates; see P. Fuhring, ‘Publishers, Sellers and the Market’ in A kingdom of images: French prints in the age of Louis xiv, 1660-1715, catalogue accompanying an exhibition at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, 16 June-6 September 2015 (Los Angeles 2015), p.32. In March 1723, Fagnani invited subscriptions for a recueil of 300 Bella Bella prints (Mercure de France, p.564; image). Cf. Marianne Grivel ‘Les éditeurs parisiens de Stefano della Bella’ in Stefano Della Bella: 1610-1664, catalogue of an exhibition, Musée des beaux-arts, Caen, 4 July-5 October 1998 (Caen 1998), pp.22-26.

36. Alexandre de Vesme, Le peintre-graveur italien: ouvrage faisant suite au ‘Peintre-graveur’ de Bartsch (Milan 1906), pp.66-332 (pp.216-219).

37. Silverio Salamon, Stefano della Bella: Firenze 1610-1664, dealer’s catalogue of an exhibition held 18 May-29 June 2000 at Arte Antica Silverio Salamon, Turin (Turin 2000), nos. 154-160. Tiziano Ortolani, Stefano della Bella: Aggiornamento del ‘Catalogue Raisonné’ di A. De Vesme e Ph. D. Massar (Piacenza 1996), does not discuss these six prints (cf. Phyllis Dearborn Massar, in Print Quarterly 14, 1997, pp.99-100).

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