Stefano della Bella, A Fury, a drawing

Italy, around AD 1658

This sheet is taken from an album of costume studies by the Florentine artist and etcher Stefano della Bella (1610-64). For his work, he made many delicate preliminary drawings in black chalk. Then, with a finely sharpened quill pen with light brown or golden ink, he drew on top. Parallel strokes of shading conform to the rounded contours of the forms. Finally, he added coloured washes, in this case a predominant orange-pink wash to suggest the flames of the costume.

The drawing is inscribed Furia per Ballo ('A Fury for the Ball'). A 'fury' was a classical figure who inflicted cruel punishments on human beings. This drawing was made for a Ballet of Furies which was part of an opera entitled Hipermestra, given at the Pergola Theatre, Florence in June 1658. The production was put on by a group of Florentine noblemen, the Accademia Degli Immobili ('The Academy of the Still'), whose patron was the pleasure-loving Cardinal Giovanni Carlo de' Medici.

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More information


N. Turner, Italian Baroque drawings (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)

P. Dearborn Massar, 'Costume drawings by Stephano della Bella for the Florentine Theater', Master Drawings, VIII (Autumn 1970), pp. 243-66


Height: 268.000 mm
Width: 188.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1887-5-2-59



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