Stefano DELLA BELLA (Florence 1610 - Florence 1664)

A Man on a Horse in a Landscape Sold

Pen and brown ink.
Laid down on a late 18th century or 19th century mount.
Numbered 8 on the reverse of the mount.
139 x 190 mm. (5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)


This lively sketch is typical of Stefano della Bella’s interest in everyday rural life, and his keen observation of the world around him. The drawing is likely to date from relatively early in the artist's career, when he was working in Florence and Rome before his move to Paris in 1639. At this time he seems to have often worked outdoors, filling several sketchbooks with lively scenes of people, buildings and festivities, all drawn on the spot and used as a stock of images and motifs for his etchings and more finished drawings.

A closely comparable pen and ink drawing of a horseman at a fountain, probably drawn in Rome, is in the collection of the Louvre, and was later used for an etching from the series Diverses figures et griffonnemens of c.1646. Among other drawings of similar subjects by Della Bella is a sheet in the Czartorsyki collection at the National Museum in Krakow, which is in turn related to one of a series of etchings of peasant subjects first published around 1641, and a drawing of a peasant seated on a mule in the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome. Two related subjects among Della Bella’s etchings can also be found in the series of Diversi capricci of c.1647.

From an album of miscellaneous, mostly Bolognese drawings, assembled by a certain Mr. Yeates in Italy in 1823 (according to an inscription on the first page of the album)
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s Olympia, 11 December 2002, part of lot 22
John Tilford, Atlanta.


A Man on a Horse in a Landscape


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