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Matthäus Merian


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(bapt. Basle, 25 Sept. 1593; d Bad Schwalbach, 19 June 1650).

German printmaker and publisher, active mainly in Frankfurt, where he ran an enormously prolific business. It published thousands of prints, many of them views of European towns for various topographical books. Much of this output came from the hands of assistants, among them briefly Wenceslaus Hollar. Merian's daughter Maria Sibylla Merian (b Frankfurt, 2 Apr. 1647; d Amsterdam, 13 Jan. 1717) trained as a flower painter. From 1685 she lived mainly in Amsterdam. In 1699–1701 she visited Surinam in South America, returning with many drawings and specimens of insects, including butterflies. In 1705 she published a book on these, illustrated with hand-coloured engravings that are remarkable for their scientific accuracy as well as their delicate beauty. Her brother, Matthäus Merian the Younger (bapt. Basle, 25 Mar. 1621; bur. Frankfurt, 15 Feb. 1687), ran the family business in Frankfurt after his father's death.

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