Scarce view of the Piazza San Marco in Venice, engraved by the Merian family for Topographia Italiae.
The present view comes from the last volume of Merian's Topographia, with maps and plates by Mathias Merian published in 30 parts between 1642 and 1688. After the elder Merian died, the work was continued by his son's Mathias and Caspar. Because this is the final volume is the last of 30 volumes published over a 46 year run, it is the scarcest of Merian's works.
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