Matthäus Merian (September 1593 – 19 June 1650) was a Swiss -born engraver who worked in Frankfurt for most of his career, where he also ran a publishing house. He was a member of the patrician Basel Merian family.
arly in his life, he had created detailed town plans in his unique style, eg a plan of Basel (1615) and a plan of Paris (1615). With Martin Zeiler (1589 – 1661), a German geographer, and later (circa 1640) with his own son, Matthäus Merian, he produced a series of Topographia. The 21-volume set was collectively known as the Topographia Germaniae. It includes numerous town plans and views, as well as maps of most countries and a World Map — it was such a popular work that it was re-issued in many editions. He also took over and completed the later parts and editions of the Grand Voyages and Petits Voyages, originally started by de Bry in 1590.
Merian’s work inspired the Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna by Erik Dahlberg . The German travel magazine Merian is named after him.
After his death, his sons Matthäus Jr. and Caspar took over the publishing house. They continued publishing the Topographia Germaniae and the Theatrum Europaeum under the name ‘Merian Erben’ (ie Merian Heirs).