"To Complete and Decorate the Engraving": Maria Sibylla Merian's Illustrations of Plants and InsectsRenaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (2006)
The German artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) is celebrated for her innovative illustrations of insects and plants and for her adventurous life. In 1699 Merian embarked on a journey to the Dutch colony of Surinam in order to observe, collect, and record the life cycles of South American insects, and in 1705 published the renowned illustrated book Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium. I propose to examine her illustrations in the context of Merian’s earlier publications on insects and embroidery design, and her involvement in the trade and exchange of natural history specimens within the community of collectors in Amsterdam during the 1690s. I will argue that the specific visual requirements of craft and artisanal practices played an essential role in the formation of Merian’s approach to creating images of the natural world, and that these practices intersected with those related to the preparation and display of exotic specimens.
Publication DateMarch 25, 2006
LocationSan Francisco, CA
Citation InformationJanice L. Neri. ""To Complete and Decorate the Engraving": Maria Sibylla Merian's Illustrations of Plants and Insects" Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (2006)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/janice_neri/41/