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Mathias Merian (1593-1650)
From: Topographia Galliae
Paper Dimension: 9.25 x 13.75 in. Frame Dimension: 15 x 18.5 in.
Mathias Merian was one of the most prominent members of the leading print publishing family of 17th-century Germany, known throughout Europe for his engravings of cityscapes and landscapes, his scientific books, and his editions of the noted series of travel books, the “Great Voyages.” Born and trained in Basel, Switzerland, Merian joined the Frankfurt publishing house of Johann Theodor de Bry in 1616 and, the following year, he married de Bry’s daughter Maria Magdalena. Merian gained his greatest acclaim as head of the family publishing house following the death of his father-in-law in 1623. He rapidly and almost single-handedly built up the house to become one of the most important in Europe, etching most of the plates himself until about 1645, when he increasingly relied upon the help of a growing staff of assistants and pupils -- among them Wenceslaus Hollar, Rudolf and Conrad Meyer of Zurich, and his sons-in-law Christoph Le Blon and Melchior Kusel. His most famous pupil, however, would prove to be his daughter, Maria Sybillia Merian, a truly exceptional botanical artist of the early 18th century.