Beautiful antique engraved view of the harbor of La Spezia, published by Matthaus Merian in the middle of the 17th century.
The image shows the entry to this important Ligurian sea port, with the twin fortifications at Porto Venere and Lerici guarding either side of the harbor, just south of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera.
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