Maria Sibylla

Germany • 1647−1717

Biography and information

Maria Sibilla Merian (him. Maria Sibylla Merian, April 2, 1647, Frankfurt am Main, Germany - January 13, 1717, Amsterdam, Netherlands) - German artist, traveler, botanist and entomologist. Mary was born in the family of a printer and an engraver, her stepfather also had a bearing on the visual arts: he wrote still lifes and engraved on metal. The family workshop in the 17th century is the only way for a girl to receive the necessary artistic training and access to materials.
The only book that did not arouse suspicion for the young girl was the Bible, and the only artistic activity that did not attract uneasy attention was the drawing of floral watercolors. And at first, Merian didn’t go beyond these limits: her first printed book was an album of hand-painted engravings - and these were embroidery patterns.
Maria married at the age of 18 and gave birth to two daughters, and at 35 she ran away from her husband, taking her children. She took refuge in a Protestant community in West Friesland. But she didn’t stay there for a long time - and soon she moved to Amsterdam, where she managed to open a shop, earn money, educate daughters and earn a lot of money. Merian was 52 years old when she sold out all her paintings - and with one of her daughters went on a trip across the Atlantic Ocean. She spent a month in the ocean, and another two years in Suriname, where she studied local insects in critical conditions for a European.
Back in Amsterdam Merian made serious tropical disease, caught in South America. But she recovered and soon printed a book that became a sensation. For many years, her book, The Metamorphoses of Surinamese Insects, will remain the most comprehensive South American entomological study in Europe.

Features of the work of Maria Sibilla Merian: Today, Merian’s works are of artistic rather than scientific value; they are collected at exhibitions in major museums. But for its time, these were sensational scientific illustrations that strikingly combined scientific meticulousness with keen contemplation. Instead of a strict metamorphosis scheme that occurs throughout the life of an insect, Merian painted them in the habitat, creating almost poetic watercolor sketches. While respecting the scientific accuracy.

Famous works of Maria Sibylla Merian: “Crowned anemone and brown scoop. Tahiti, “Guava with giant crab spiders, orb-web spiders, umbrella ants, cockroaches, tarantulas and hummingbirds. Suriname ", "Citron with a caterpillar ape and a long-legged harlequin".