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Wednesday 29 November 2023

Stefano della Bella’s etching, “Study of Five Heads”, c.1641

Stefano della Bella (1610–1664)

“Study of Five Heads” (descriptive title only) (aka “Hoofd van Oude Man met Tulband, van Twee Jongemannen en van Twee Kinderen” [Rijksmuseum title], “Head of an Old Man with a Turban, Two Young Men and Two Children”), c.1641, plate 9 from the series of twenty-five plates (Vesme 364–388), “De beginselen van het tekenen” (aka “The Principles of Drawing”; “I Principii del Disegno”), published in Paris by Pierre Mariette II (1634–1716) with royal privilege.

Etching on laid paper, trimmed with a small margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet providing wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 12.6 x 15.7 cm; (plate) 12 x 15.4 cm.

Inscribed in plate along the lower edge: (left) “S. D Bella in et fecit”; (centre) “Auec priulege du Roy”; (right) “9”.

State ii (of ii) with the address of Pierre Mariette erased.

De Vesme/Massar 372 (Alexandre de Vesme & Phyllis D. Massar, 1971, “Stefano della Bella. Catalogue Raisonné”, New York, Collectors Editions, [Text vol.] p. 94, cat. no. 372, [Illus. vol.] p. 90, cat. no. 372); Jombert (Della Bella) 145–9 (Charles Antoine Jombert 1772, “Essai d'un catalogue de l'oeuvre d'Etienne de la Belle, peintre et graveur florentin”, Paris, p. 147, cat. no. 145–9).

See the descriptions of this print offered by the British Museum and the Rijksmuseum:;  

Condition: a strong and near faultless impression trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark and laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in a near pristine condition for its considerable age with no tears or significant stains.

I am selling this very finely executed etching of small head studies somewhat in the manner of Rembrandt, for AU$298 (currently US$199.18/EUR180.22/GBP158.65 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this near faultless impression of a superb etching in museum quality condition, by one of the most famous of the old master printmakers, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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