The masterpiece of a 17th-century woman who turned nature into art
Maria Sibylla Merian
Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium 1705
Transformation of the Surinamese insects
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A publication by Lannoo Publishers and Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands in collaboration with Amsterdam University l hardback l four colour l 35,5 cm W x 53,5 cm H l 200 p. l ISBN 978 94 014 33785
This facsimile of one of the most beautiful books of natural history ever created contains sixty magnificent illustrations showing exotic insects, with the original descriptions. The reissue is the same size as the original and is enriched with an illustrated introduction about the life, work and significance of Maria Sibylla Merian, and a new scientific description of all the insects, animals and plants.
The life and work of this German woman who moved to the Netherlands has been the subject of international research by botanists, entomologists and historians concerned with the history of science, art, religion and economics. Her original works have been preserved in archives and museums all over the world, from Saint-Petersburg to New York, and have been the subject of countless publications, exhibitions and novels.
‘When looking at the breathtaking results of Merian’s work you have to agree with me that the Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium was made by a naturalist who was also the greatest botanical and insect painter that ever lived.’
— Redmond O’Hanlon, author and explorer
Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (published in 1705) was the work of an extremely enterprising and independent woman, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). In 1699, along with her daughter, she travelled to Surinam to carry out research into the reproduction and development of insects. She is now regarded as both a highly gifted artist and an exceptional empirical scientist, one of the first to demolish the prevailing notion of the spontaneous generation of insects from mud.
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