Four suites of etchings by Stefano della Bella, comprising 35 prints. Primarily decorative, they depict genre scenes of people
and animals (in rural settings), fantastic vases, panels of grotesques, and the Medici Villa Demidoff and its gardens near
Stefano Della Bella was born and died in Florence. His father, Francesco Della Bella, was a sculptor in Giambologna's workshop;
and his brothers followed the trades of goldsmith, sculptor, and painter. He first worked in gold-and metalsmiths' workshops,
then studied painting with Cesare Dandini, and finally studied etching, which became his chosen career. Supported by Don Lorenzo
de Medici (d.1640), he worked in Florence from 1633 to 1639, with a series of trips to Rome to study from the antique. In
1639 he went to Paris, where he etched plates sold by François Langlois (called Ciartres, 1589-1647), Israël Henriet (ca1590-1661),
and Pierre I Mariette (1603-57). He also received official commissions from Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. He returned to
Florence in 1650 after French hostility to Mazarin erupted in the Fronde and extended to all Italians. With the exception
of a single trip to Rome, he remained in Florence until his death but continued to send plates and prints to Paris publishers.
Retained by Prince Mattias de Medici, Della Bella gave drawing lessons to Mattias's nephew Cosimo III, the son of Grand Duke
Ferdinand II (1610-70).