Maria Sibylla Merian in 1679, artist unknown.

Maria Sibylla Merian was a botanical and natural history illustrator who was the first to record metamorphosis.... a naturalist, an entymologist and a botanical illustrator and is rated as being one of the greatest ever botanical artists.

Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 Jan. 1717); German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator....

She received her artistic training from her stepfather, Jacob Marrel, a student of the still life painter Georg Flegel....

Merian published her first book of natural illustrations, titled Neues Blumenbuch, in 1675 at age 28. In 1699, following 8 years of painting and studying, and on the encouragement of Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck, the then-governor of the Dutch colony of Surinam, the city of Amsterdam awarded Merian a grant to travel to South America with her daughter Dorothea. Her trip, designed as a scientific expedition makes Merian perhaps the first person to "plan a journey rooted solely in science." After two years there, malaria forced her to return to Europe. She then proceeded to publish her major work, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (de), in 1705, for which she became famous. Because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly, she is considered by David Attenborough to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.

...Her father died in 1650, and in 1651 her mother remarried the flower and still life painter Jacob Marrel. Marrel encouraged Merian to draw and paint. While he lived mostly in Holland, his pupil Abraham Mignon trained her. At 13 she painted her first images of insects and plants from specimens she had captured. Early on, she had...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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