Maria Sibilla Merian

Maria Sibilla Merian. Der rupsen begin.Amsterdam, [1714]

Maria Sibilla Merian. Der rupsen begin.Amsterdam, [1714]

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), the daughter, sister, and wife of artists and engravers, lived a most unconventional life: she became an artist herself, left her husband to join a Protestant sect, and voyaged at the age of 52 to the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America.

Merian, who worked professionally under her own name, spent two years in the rain forest observing, collecting, and drawing insects and plants. Der Rupsen begin is a masterpiece of both art and science. In a vivid, pleasingly ornate artistic style, she was the first to record the full life cycle of many species of butterflies and moths. . The Phillips copy of Der rupsen begin is the first Dutch edition and was hand-coloured by her daughters. Although intended primarily to show caterpillars and butterflies, it is also one of the finest and most dramatic of the early flower books. Merian died in poverty in 1717.

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