SPADA, Valerio (1613-88):

Balletti d‘Invenzione nella Finta Pazza,seven plates from a set of 18, presumed to be after Stefano della Bella, and two plates from Della Bella’s Jeu des Reynes renommées, on an album sheet

Etchings, ca. 1645/6. P. Dearborn Massar, Print Quarterly September 1986, pp 218-223.

Fine impressions laid down on an old album sheet. Five of the plates have been divided into two parts by an earlier collector, while two others have had the upper, empty part of the composition trimmed. A few minor spots. Varying sizes. Of the utmost rarity.

The ballets, which were choreographed and designed by Balbi and served as entr’actes in the Paris court staging by Giacomo Torelli, were intended as amusements for the seven-year-old Louis XIV. Included in this group are Four Eunuchs bowing to each other, Four Eunuchs with Watering Cans, Four Eunuchs making four Bears dance, Four Eunuchs leading four Bears, on whose backs ride four Monkeys, Eight Indians dancing, holding Parasols, Eight Indians dancing, holding Tambourines, and Eight Indians in a Circle [with three birds]. Della Bella’s figures are Tartarie and Chile, with a reverse copy of Roxane.