Striking birdseye view of Siena, with two extensive keys and a coat of arms, from Merian's monumental work.
Mattheus Merian was a notable Swiss engraver, born in Basle, who subsequently studied in Zurich and then moved to Frankfurt where he met Theodore de Bry, whose daughter he married. In Frankfurt, he spent most of his working life with Martin Zeiller (1589-1661), a German Geographer. Later with his own son, he produced a series of Topographia consisting of 21 volumes including a very large number of town plans as well as maps of most countries and a World Map, a very popular work, issued in many editions. He also took over and completed the later parts and editions of the Grand Voyages and Petits Voyages originally started by De Bry in 1590.
Mathaus Merian (1593-1650) was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich. After a time in Nancy, Paris and Strasbourg, he settled in Frankfurt. While there, he worked for Johann Theodor de Bry, the publisher and son of the travel writer. In 1617, he married Maria Magdalena de Bry, Johann Theodor’s daughter. In 1623, Merian took over the de Bry publishing house upon the death of his father-in-law. Merian’s best known works are detailed town views which, due to their accuracy and artistry, form a valuable record of European urban life in the first half of the sixteenth century