Stella, James

, an eminent painter, the son of Francis Stella, a Fleming, was born in 1596 at Lyons, where his father had settled on his return from Italy. Although he was but nine years old at his father’s death, the latter had successfully initiated him in the principles of the art, which he afterwards improved in Italy. At the age of twenty, being at Florence, the great duke Cosmo de Medicis, perceiving him to be a man of genius, assigned him lodgings and a pension equal to that of Callot, who was there at the same time; and here, during a residence of seven years, he exhibited many proofs of his skill in painting, designing, and engraving. Thence he went to Rome, where he spent eleven years, chiefly in studying the antique sculptures, and Raphael’s paintings. Having acquired a good taste, as well as a great reputation, in Rome, he resolved to return to his own country; intending, however, to pass thence into the service of the king of Spain, who had invited him more than once. He took Milan in his way to France; and cardinal Albornos offered him the direction of the academy of painting in that city, which he refused. When he | arrived in Paris, and was preparing for Spain, cardinal Richelieu detained him, and presented him to the king, who assigned him a good pension and lodgings in the Louvre. He gave such satisfaction here, that he was honoured with the order of St. Michael, and painted several large pictures for the king, by whose command the greatest part of them were sent to Madrid. Being very laborious, he spent the winter-evenings in designing the histories of the Holy Scriptures, country sports, and children’s plays, which were engraved, and make a large volume. He also drew the designs of the frontispieces to several books of the Louvre impression; and various antique ornaments, together with a frieze of Julio Romano, which he brought out of Italy. He died of a consumption in 1647. This painter had a fine genius, and all his productions were wonderfully easy. His talent was rather gay than terrible: his invention, however, noble, and his design in a good style. His models were evidently Raphael and Poussin. He was upon the whole an excellent painter, although somewhat of a mannerist. Sir Robert Strange has a fine engraving from a “Holy Family” by this artist. 1


Argeuville, vol. IV. Pilkington. —Strutt.