Maria Sibylla Merian: Butterflies Notecard Folio
Maria Sibylla Merian was born in 1647 into a family of artists and engravers in Germany. She married at eighteen and had children but was not content with a solely domestic life. Trained as an artist from childhood, Merian was intrigued by insects and spent years studying, breeding, and drawing them. She published a book illustrating the life cycles of the caterpillars and butterflies of Europe (1679 and 1683) and subsequently determined to study exotic insects in their natural habitats.
In 1705 she published Metamorphosis of Surinamese Insects, with sixty hand colored copperplate engravings and text about the insects and the plants they feed on. Her detailed illustrations were among the first to depict the life cycles of butterflies and moths, and the first to incorporate the relationships betweens insects and their host plants, many of which had never been seen in Europe. Merian’s contributions to science have been widely recognized, and several species of plants and butterflies have been named after her.