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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Stefano della Bella
Italian, 1610–1664

The Siege

Engraving and etching, about 1650
Winthrop H. Perry Fund, 1913.90

The Siegeshows a view of the fortified city of Arras as French soldiers gather around the perimeter in a blockade. Arras had become part of the Spanish, or Southern, Netherlands (comprising most of modern Belgium and Luxembourg, plus parts of The Netherlands and France) at the end of the 15th century. The city, now a part of northern France, is easily identified in this print, in part, because the clock tower, depicted just left of center, still exists today.In 1641 Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII’s chief statesman, sent Stefano della Bella to Arras to make drawings of the siege, documenting the actions of the royal army. These drawings were later used as guides in the production of a series of prints. This image was sometimes included in a larger composition, Plan et profil d’Arras, produced in 1641.