Black Chalk or Graphite?

Art Technological Examination of Drawings by the Baroque Artist Stefano della Bella

The Florentine artist Stefano della Bella (1610–1664) counts among the 17th century artists with the most well-preserved works. In addition to numerous prints, the Kupferstichkabinett of the Hamburger Kunsthalle possesses a body of close to 300 drawings and thus about one tenth of the overall graphic oeuvre. In the frame of the exhibition »The Beauty is the Line. Stefano della Bella as a Draughtsman«, the drawing means and materials the artist employed were thoroughly examined in 2012. This involved looking into the question, whether – as assumed so far – it truly was natural black chalk that had been primarily used for the preliminary drawings and the black drawings.

Sabine Zorn