* 1593 Basel
† 1650 Schwalbach
Matthäus Merian, the Elder, was born in Basel on 22 September, 1593. He is regarded as one of the most significant engravers and publishers of the 17th century. At a young age Merian learned the trade of glas painting but soon turned to the art of etching. From 1612 to 1615 Merian worked for the French King before he returned to Basel. Together with de Bry, Merian published "Große Reisen" and "Kleine Reisen", which were partly supplemented with new images. In 1624 Merian moved to Frankfurt where he spent most of his time on publishing work. His city views Topographia Germaniae, which he made for Martin Zeiler in 1640 and which are of a high documentary value, helped him gain famousness. 100 additional drawings by Merian can be verified which predominantly depict landscapes or topographic views. Matthäus Merian, the Elder, died in Schwalbach on 16 June, 1650.