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Decorative view of the cities of Ragusa and Negroponte, from Merian's Neuwe Archontologica Cosmica . . ., first published in 1638. This example is from a later 1688 reissue of the text.

The upper of the two images shows Dubrovnik, at the time the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, during the end of its commercial peak. This maritime republic would persist until its conquest in 1808 by the Napoleonic Empire, prior to which it maintained a fierce independence.

The lower image shows Chalcis, a Greek city on the island of Euboea, at the time part of the Ottoman Empire.

Matthaus Merian Biography

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