Description & Technical information

A preparatory study for an etching by Stefano della Bella of a cavalry battle (De Vesme & Massar 267), part of a series of six prints published in Paris as Divers dessins tant pour la paix que pour la guerre (‘Various drawings both for peace and war’), and datable between 1638 and 1643.

Among stylistically comparable drawings by Della Bella is a study of a battle scene in the collection of the Biblioteca Marucelliana in Florence.

The drawing bears the drystamp of the German photographer and collector Herbert List (1903-1975), who began collecting drawings in the late 1950s and eventually came to own some 1,100 sheets, of which around 650 were Italian. In 1972 List made an arrangement to sell the entire collection of drawings to Ursula Ratjen, for the benefit of her son, the collector Wolfgang Ratjen (1943-1997).

Medium: Pen and brown ink, over an underdrawing in black chalk.
Dimensions: 7.1 x 21.5 cm (2³/₄ x 8¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Anonymous sale (‘The Property of a Gentleman’), London, Christie’s, 4 July 1972, lot 76 (bt. List for 240 gns.)
Herbert List, Munich (Lugt 4063), his drystamp at the lower right
Acquired in 1972 with the rest of List’s collection of drawings by Ursula Ratjen, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, for Wolfgang Ratjen, Munich
The Stiftung Ratjen, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Katrin Bellinger / Colnaghi, London, in 2006
Private collection, New York.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints