Butterflies #8 17” x
in Frankfurt to an etcher and book publisher father who died when she
was three, Maria Sibylla Merian first studied flower painting with her
step-father, Jacob Marrel. She married in 1665 and began her own
botanical and entomological work after she and her family moved to
Nuremberg in 1670. To facilitate her studies, Merian raised and kept
live specimens and was therefore able to show the insects at each stage
of their development. Merian left her husband in 1685 and with her
children joined a Labadist sect in Frankfurt. In 1699 she traveled with
her daughter Dorothea to a Labadist mission in Surinam where she
completed a series of paintings detailing the tropical flora and fauna.
After a bout with yellow fever, she moved to Amsterdam in 1705 and
published a series of engravings from her watercolors in Metamorphosis
Insectorum Surinamensium. Merian died in poverty in 1717.
This print is one of two that we have and will keep them
together. You can see that on the back
in “German” is the number 7 and the other is 8. They were part of a series.
This exhibition charts the artistic and scientific explorations of
German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) and her daughters
Johanna Helena and Dorothea Maria. Enterprising and adventurous, these
women raised the artistic standards of natural history illustration and
helped transform the field of entomology, the study of insects. The
exhibition presents books, prints, and watercolors by Merian and her
contemporaries and features one of the greatest illustrated natural
history books of all time, The Insects of Suriname.
Late 17Th Century or early 18Th Century)
. But in person they are extremely detailed. You can also see that they were not always in these frames, by
the dark mark across the top of #8.