Stefano della Bella
Renaissance artist Stefano della Bella began his career in printmaking by copying prints by Jacques Callot, who had a marked influence on della Bella's work. During his fifty four years, he worked exclusively in printmaking and produced more than 1,400 etchings. His extant work also includes a large body of drawings made in preparation for the final print.
Della Bella spent most of his working life in Florence, supported by the powerful Medici family. He worked in Paris for ten years and gained renown under patrons Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. The artist also spent time in Rome and the Netherlands, where he is believed to have met Rembrandt and adopted his influence into later work.
He was known to have employed a wide variety of subjects from animals to mask designs to military scenes. Some of his famous projects include a set of playing cards with mythological themes, commissioned for Louis XIII's edification, and a series of the "Dance of Death." Towards the end of his life, della Bella experimented with a new printing technique to create prints with the tonality of drawings. His results were similar to but long predating the modern aquatint.