Early ambitious engraving installed in new gallery
Antoinette Bouzonnet-Stella’s ambitious series of 25 prints, The Entrance of the Emperor Sigismond into Mantua (engraved 1675; published 1787), reproduces an Italian Renaissance stucco frieze designed by Giulio Romano (1499–1546) for the Palazzo Te in Mantua. This exhibition examines the context in which Bouzonnet-Stella (1641–1676) created these engravings, commissioned by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, advisor to King Louis XIV. Her work at the French court was part of Colbert’s plan as vice-protecteur of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture to promote a “French style,” based in classical art. In her family’s workshop, housed within the Louvre, Bouzonnet-Stella, along with her sisters, Claudine and Françoise, and brother, Antoine, assisted her maternal uncle, the painter and printmaker Jacques Stella (1596–1657).
As a companion to the in-person presentation of Bouzonnet-Stella’s prints, an online exhibition provides additional context into her life and work. This digital platform enables side-by-side comparisons of the prints with images of the original frieze, still extant at the Palazzo Te. Additionally, the digital exhibition shares in-depth information about printmaking techniques and the Stella family workshop.