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Catafalco - Ceremonies for the Funeral of Emperor Ferdinand II 1637

Stefano Della Bella

* 1610 in Florence † 1664 in Florence

Etching. Size of sheet: 23.7 x 22.2 cm.

Literature:     de Vesme/Massar 77 II/II.

Very crisp impression. The contrast very fresh and the printing very sharp.

Price on request

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The third print from the set of three showing the Ceremonies for the Funeral of Emperor Ferdinand II. It depicts the catafalque ordered for the obsequies in absentia of Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II, celebrated in the Church of San Lorenzo, Florence, on April 2, 1637. An view of the tomb of Ferdinand II in the centre of the choir of the church of San Lorenzo in Florence, under the Austrian Arms, hanging from the roof. Small characters appear on both sides of the monument. Stefano della Bella treats them almost as independent small genre scenes, bringing life and movement to his powerful architectural view. The characters also give a sense of scale and contribute to the impression of grandeur and monumentality. These characters are typical in Della Bella’s work. Their lively and expressive poses are similar to the work of Jacques Callot (c. 1592–1635). Both artists trained in the workshop of the Florentine etcher Remigio Cantagallina (c. 1582-1656).

Della Bella later produced acclaimed vedute under the Patronage of the Medici in Rome, remaining at the same time interested in character studies and the rendering of numerous of the great public events of the time. He moved to Paris in 1639 with the Italian ambassador. His fame preceded him, and arriving four years after Callot’s death, he quickly adapted his art to French taste and was quickly successful. Most of his etched work dates from his Parisian years.

Our print was made earlier, while he was still working in Rome. The set is typical of Della Bella’s interest for depicting the grandeur and craziness of public events. These commemorative prints were also a way to promote and export the grandeur Rome and Florence and their patron, the Medici Family reaffirming their connexion with the Holy Roman Empire. 

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