Creator Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Name Merian, Maria Sibylla
Other names Graff, Maria Sibylla (married name)
Life Dates 1647-1717
Born: Germany
Died: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality German
Occupation naturalist
Notes Maria and her daughters, Johanna Helena and Dorothea Maria, were known as unusually enterprising and adventurous women for their time, who greatly influenced the artistic standards of natural history illustration and helped transform the field of entomology.
Role Artist

Associated Records

Image of Nature Print Collection - 2016.7.2

Nature Print Collection - 2016.7.2

"Study of Butterflies, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Chrysalis," hand-colored copperplate engraving from "Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (Transformations of the insects of Suriname)," by Maria Sibylla Merian. Amsterdam, 1719. Exhibition Label (Birds, Bugs, & Blooms, 2014): Thanks to her notoriety as an artist, Merian was able to travel to Suriname, South America without male accompaniment, despite being a woman. Assisted by her daughter, Merian explored the life cycles of insects, painting her observations in breathtaking watercolor. Her Metamorphosis helped disprove the idea of spontaneous generation, and is considered one of the most important natural history books of all time. female