Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Maria Sibylla Merian

You might have noticed the Google tribute to Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717) who was a nature illustrator who also contributed to our knowledge of insects and plants, especially the life cycle of Lepidoptera.

According to Wickepedia: Merian worked as a botanical artist. She published collections of engravings of plants in 1675, 1677, and 1680. She collected and observed live insects and created detailed drawings to illustrate insect metamorphosis. In her time, it was very unusual that someone would be genuinely interested in insects, which had a bad reputation. Merian also described many other details of the evolution and life cycle of the insects she observed. She could, for example, show that each stage of the change from caterpillar to butterfly depended on a small number of plants for its nourishment. She noted that as a consequence the eggs were laid near these plants.Merian was one of the first naturalists to observe insects directly. This approach gave her much more insight into their lives and was contrary to the way that most scientists worked at the time.

And we are still learning but I think photos and video have become the modern way to record their lives.  But don't you just love her illustrations.  A good photo still can't replace a good illustration and I do hope this beautiful art from continues to be used and taught.


QPT said...

Great Work by Maria Sibylla Merian!!!

Cindy said...

Embarrassed to say I had actually never heard of her, but looking at her work online, I'm sure I've seen some of her illustrations before.

Of course, I had to see if she had ever drawn a praying mantis, and sure enough, I found one in this picture.

Lacebug Lady said...

Yeah! I saw that in google as well, and the doodle was so amazing I had to check it out, I love scientific illustration particullarly from the 1500-1800's, however, I have failed to pay enough attention to the artist's names and was so pleased and amazed to learn about her and how much "light" she brought to science, particularly entomology. Her illustrations are simply beautiful!