Two Drawings of a Dead Elephant


lead pencil, pen and brown ink, grey wash
Inv. No. 16827; 16828 (Erworben durch Städelscher Museums-Verein)

15 × 21 cm

zur  Biographie

In Florence in November 1655, Stefano della Bella executed drawings of an elephant which had just perished. It was reportedly the very animal which had been presented to the public in many European cities in the course of the two preceding decades. Della Bella, a prolific and well-travelled draughtsman and printed graphic artist who was evidently fascinated by this bizarre creature, captured the masses of the cadaver in a sensitive pen and brush drawing. Yet the figures of the observers also caught his eye. They not only provide an impression of the relative proportions of the bodies, but also convey the sensation-craving curiosity to which the beast continues to be subjected even after its death.
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