This is a 1638 (dated 1635) Matthäus Merian view of Constantinople, or Istanbul, Turkey. The view is oriented to the south. The Beyoğlu district - then known as 'Pera' - is in the foreground, while a panorama of Istanbul proper can be seen as a distant skyline beyond the Golden Horn. A legend at the bottom names twenty nine structures, with a key indicating the named buildings on the view - predominantly mosques. It is a beautiful example of Merian's superb engraving. The panorama is artfully framed with lifelike trees and other flora, and is filled with depictions of the city's denizens going about everyday life: walking and talking with one another, sitting and conversing, and bringing the dogs back home from the hunt.
Publication History and CensusThis view was created by Matthäus Merian for inclusion in his Archontologia cosmica, published in Frankfurt-am-Main, in 1638 with further editions noted in 1646 and 1649. This first plate is catalogued in fourteen institutional collections in OCLC.
Matthäus Merian (September 22, 1593 - June 19, 1650), sometimes referred to as 'the Elder' to distinguish from his son, was an important Swiss engraver and cartographer active in the early to mid 17th century. Merian was born in Basel and studied engraving in the centers of Zurich, Strasbourg, Nancy and Paris. In time Merian was drawn to the publishing mecca of Frankfurt, where he met Johann Theodor de Bry, son of the famed publisher Theodor de Bry (1528 - 1598) . Merian and De Bry produced a number of important joint works and, in 1617, Merian married De Bry's daughter Maria Magdalena. In 1623 De Bry died and Merian inherited the family firm. Merian continued to publish under the De Bry's name until 1626. Around this time, Merian became a citizen of Frankfurt as such could legally work as an independent publisher. The De Bry name is therefore dropped from all of Merian's subsequent work. Of this corpus, which is substantial, Merian is best known for his finely engraved and highly detailed town plans and city views. Merian is considered one of the grand masters of the city view and a pioneer of the axonometric projection. Merian died in 1650 following several years of illness. He was succeeded in the publishing business by his two sons, Matthäus (1621 - 1687) and Caspar (1627 - 1686), who published his great works, the Topographia and Theatrum Eruopeaum, under the designation Merian Erben (Merian Heirs). Merian daughter, Anna Maria Sibylla Merian, became an important naturalist and illustrator. Today the German Travel Magazine Merian is named after the famous engraver. Learn More...
Merian, M., Archontologia cosmica sive imperiorum (Frankfurt-am-Main), 1638.
Average. Mended surface wear with very slight loss. Printed to two separate plates, joined at publication.