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Maria Sibylla Merian

Frankfurt am Main 1647 - Amsterdam 1717


Maria Sibylla Merian (April 2, 1647 - January 13, 1717) is known as a German painter and entomologist. As the youngest child of Matthäus Merian the Elder she gained a good command of various printing techniques at a young age. Her stepfather Jacob Marell (1614-81) later introduced her to flower painting.
Between 1675 and 1680 her "Neues Blumenbuch" was published in three volumes in Nuremberg. Today this work is a very rare original. Alongside flora she also explored caterpillars and butterflies in nature, resulting in her work "Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung" (Nuremberg 1679), which presented a major advance in entomology.
From 1691 Maria Sibylla Merian lived in Amsterdam, where she had her first contact with the Dutch colonies in South America and Surinam. The research she carried out there is reflected in her work "Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium" in Latin and Dutch.
Today her work is not only regarded as a highlight of traditional natural science, because of the expert knowledge it contained , but it is also highly respected for the artistic use of the illustrations. Just like her book on caterpillars "Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium" was reprinted several times.


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