Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Feature: Maria Sibylla Merian

Butterfy Life Cycle by Maria Sibylla Merian

Somehow I had never heard of this amazing pioneering artist until recently.  Maria Sibylla Merian was a naturalist who specialized in entomology during the 17th century.  I love how she depicted the life cycle of insects so delicately... combining the plants eaten as well as the stages of metamorphosis.  She showed the constant flow of change all wrapped up into one picture.

Pomegranates by Maria Sibylla Merian

This week in a class I teach for the Indianapolis Art Center's ArtReach program, we studied the life of Merian then drew from real specimens.  The kids loved having dead insects, fish and even a dead bird to draw from!
One of my students drawing a butterfly specimen.  I am so proud!

Another one of my students drawing our dead bird.
(Fear not! He died of natural causes.)

The only constant is change.


  1. was thrilled to see today's google doodle - merian was a real inspiration, breaking through barriers as a woman and a scientist. i've seen an original copy of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, and it was stunning, she's always been a personal favourite of mine. good to see her get some recognition.

    1. So true Shayari! Her life story is inspirational. So cool that you got to see an original copy- I'm jealous!


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