Antique Italian etching of men on horseback by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664), circa 1643. The scene depicts men on horseback crossing a river. Dimensions: 11"H x 16-1/2"W (frame); 5"H x 10-1/2"W (canvas)
The Italian illustrator, etcher and painter, Stefano Della Bella was forn on March 18, 1610 in Florence. In 1620, Bella joined the workshop of the goldsmith Giovanni Battista Fossi switching a short time later to the studio of engrave and medal maker, Gasparo Mola. Remigio Cantagallina helped Stefano in the beginning and sent him to Cesare Dandini where he began training as a painter in 1625.
Stefano Della Bella dedicated his first dated etching, Banquet of the Piacevoli from 1627 to the brother of the Grand Duke, Giancarlo de’Medici. In 1630, Stefano made a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Trattato della Pitturan which he illustrated with 50 or so explanatory sketches. This period of creativity in Rone resulted in numerous views of Rome, Tivoli, the Roman Campagna, ruins and street scenes. Stefano loved portraying topics relevant to the current times.
In 1634, Bella moved to Florence where he remained until 1639. During this time his name appeared with the official job title of intagliatore where he was among the artists employed at the court of the Medici. In 1639, Bella joined the mission for sending congratulation to the French court on the birth of Louis XIV.
Stefano returned to his home town in 1650 abd ebtered into the service of Matthias de’Medicis where he instructed youth such as Cosimo III in drawing. In addition, Bella was accepted into the Florentine literary circle of the Accademia degli Apasti. This marked the peak of his career. In his last burst of creativity, Stefano Della Bella produced the etched sequences La Gara delle Stagioni, the Six Views of the Villa Pratolino in 1652 and Views of the Harbor of Livorno in 1656 and Six Views of Rome and the Roman Campagna.
Stefano Della Bella died in his native town of Florence in 1664.