Born in Basel, he studied in Paris, Nancy and Strasburg and in 1616 moved to Oppenheim where he went to work for the famous publishing house run by Johann Theodor de Bry. A year later he married de Bry’s daughter. The family was forced to move to Frankfurt after Oppenheim was destroyed by fire during the Thirty Years War when the Spanish occupied the town.
Mattheus Merian the Elder was the father of engraver Matthäus the Younger, and of the painter, engraver, and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian. He was born in Basel, Switzerland and trained in engraving in Zurich.