Today, an entomologist in a laboratory can gaze at a butterfly pupa with a microscope so powerful that the swirling cells on the pupa’s skin look like a galaxy. She can activate a single gene or knock it out. What she can’t do is discover how the insect behaves in its natural habitat—which means she doesn’t know what steps to take to preserve it from extinction, nor how any particular gene may interact with the environment. Four hundred years ago, a fifty-year-old Dutch woman set sail on a solo scientific expedition to study insect metamorphosis. She could not have imagined the routine magic that scientists perform today—but her absolute insistence on studying insects in their natural habitats was so far ahead of its time that it is only now coming back into favor. Chrysalis restores Maria Sibylla Merian to her rightful place in the history of science, taking us from golden-age Amsterdam to the Surinam tropics to modern laboratories where Merian’s insights fuel new approaches to both ecology and genetics.
Author: Maria Sibylla Merian
Publisher: Getty Publications
Release Date: 2008
With her meticulous depictions of insect metamorphosis, Maria Sibylla Merian raised the standards of natural history illustration. Many of the drawings produced by Merian in the South American jungle were later published as hand-colored engravings in her book Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname (1705), which brought her widespread fame. Insects and Flowers, a delightful gift book that reproduces vivid color details of sixteen plates from the book, is a vibrant encapsulation of Merian's volume and features an engaging essay on Merian's life and work.
Author: Ella Reitsma
Publisher: J Paul Getty Museum Pubns
Release Date: 2008
This gorgeously illustrated book presents the life and work of Maria Sibylla Merian, who defied the conventions of her time to pursue her passion for documenting the natural world in all its glorious, and sometimes ferocious, detail. After more than fifteen years of marriage to a fellow artist and the birth of two daughters, Merian left her husband. She began to support herself by selling watercolors of insects, fruit, and flowers, eventually establishing an art business in Amsterdam with her daughters, Johanna Helen and Dorothea Maria. Merian's innovative compositional style--displaying the life cycle of an insect against the background of its host plant--developed out of her own careful and painstakingly recorded observations of insect metamorphoses. Ella Rietsma is the first author to attempt to separate Merian's work from that of her two daughters, who collaborated extensively with their mother. Writing in a lively, accessible style, Reitsma includes newly discovered drawings and fresh biographical details. This book coincides with an exhibition of Merian's work on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from June 10 through August 31, 2008.
Author: Kim Todd
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2002-05-21
A fascinating natural history of non-native species currently living and thriving in America focuses on the various experiments, most well-intentioned, that introduced many foriegn life forms to the continent. Reprint.
Innocent. Invader. Lover. Thief. Sparrows are everywhere and wear many guises. Able to live in the Arctic and the desert, from Beijing to San Francisco, the house sparrow is the most ubiquitous wild bird in the world. They are the subject of elegies by Catullus and John Skelton and listed as “pretty things” in Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book—but they’re also urban vermin with shocking manners that were so reviled that Mao placed them on the list of Four Pests and ordered the Chinese people to kill them on sight. In Sparrow, award-winning science and natural history writer Kim Todd explores the bird's complex history, biology, and literary tradition. Todd describes the difference between Old World sparrows, like the house sparrow, which can nest in a garage or in an airport, and New World sparrows, which often stake their claim to remote islands or meadows in the high Sierra. In addition, she looks at the nineteenth-century Sparrow War in the United States—a battle over the sparrow’s introduction—which set the stage for decades of discussions of invasive species. She examines the ways in which sparrows have taught us about evolution and the shocking recent decline of house sparrows in cities globally—this disappearance of a bird that seemed hardwired for success remains an ornithological mystery. With lush illustrations, ranging from early woodcuts and illuminated manuscripts to contemporary wildlife photography, this is the first book-length exploration of the natural and cultural history of this beloved, reviled, and ubiquitous bird.
Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.
* The first full-size publication of the magnum opus of Maria Sibylla Merian, considered by none other than David Attenborough to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology* An intriguing work by one of the foremost female scientists of the 17th centuryMaria Sibylla Merian was a German naturalist and scientific illustrator. She is considered by none other than David Attenborough to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology, because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In 1705, Merian published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, for which she became famous. No more than 30 copies of this masterwork are left worldwide. In 2017, it will be 300 years since Maria Sibylla Merian passed away. To mark this occasion, a facsimile of Merian's highly successful book will be released. A must-have for any lover of natural history. Modern readers will at last be able to see with their own eyes how detailed and colorful Merian's magnificent work was. The book includes a comprehensive introduction and background information by renowned historians and biologists.Also included is a foreword by Merian specialist Redmond O'Hanlon, a biographical introduction by art historian Dr. Ella Reitsman. Dr. Kay Etheridge, professor biology at Gettysburg College discusses the meaning of Merian's work for biology and Dr. Bert van de Roemer talks about the historical context.
Author: Sarah B. Pomeroy
Publisher: Getty Publications
Release Date: 2018-02-13
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
In 1660, at the age of thirteen, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) began her study of butterfly metamorphosis—years before any other scientist published an accurate description of the process. Later, Merian and her daughter ventured thousands of miles from their home in the Netherlands into the rainforests of South America seeking new and amazing insects to observe and illustrate. Years after her death, Merian’s accurate and beautiful illustrations were used by scientists, including Carl Linnaeus, to classify species, and today her prints and paintings are prized by museums around the world. More than a dozen species of plants and animals are named after Merian. The first Merian biography written for ages 10 and up, this book will enchant budding scientists and artists alike. Readers will be inspired by Merian’s talent, curiosity, and grit and will be swept up in the story of her life, which was adventurous even by today’s standards. With its lively text, quotations from Merian’s own study book, and fascinating sidebars on history, art, and science, this volume is an ideal STEAM title for readers of all ages and interests.
Author: Daniela Bleichmar
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2012-10-08
Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and energy to the creation of visual materials. European and American naturalists and artists collaborated to manufacture a staggering total of more than 12,000 botanical illustrations. Yet these images have remained largely overlooked—until now. In this lavishly illustrated volume, Daniela Bleichmar gives this archive its due, finding in these botanical images a window into the worlds of Enlightenment science, visual culture, and empire. Through innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the histories of science, visual culture, and the Hispanic world, Bleichmar uses these images to trace two related histories: the little-known history of scientific expeditions in the Hispanic Enlightenment and the history of visual evidence in both science and administration in the early modern Spanish empire. As Bleichmar shows, in the Spanish empire visual epistemology operated not only in scientific contexts but also as part of an imperial apparatus that had a long-established tradition of deploying visual evidence for administrative purposes.
Author: Kate Heard
Publisher: Royal Collection Trust
Release Date: 2016-04-01
"In 1699, the German entomologist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian set sail for Suriname, in South America. There she would produce a series of beautiful and scientifically accurate illustrations of the natural world which she encountered. These drawings, in which Merian aimed to explore the life-cycle of insects (then only partially understood), led to the publication of the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, a luxury volume which brought the wonders of the wildlife of Suriname to Europe. Maria Merian's Butterflies tells Merian’s story through her works in the Royal Collection. Over three-hundred years after they were made, these meticulous, brilliant works celebrate a woman whose art and whose story are enduringly popular." from publisher's website.
The amazing story of the life and work of the renowned botanical artist Maria Sibylla Merian is told alongside her beautiful illustrations of butterflies in this charming and elegant book. A woman ahead of her time, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was an intrepid explorer, naturalist, scholar, as well as a magnificent artist. This lovely, impeccably designed book tells Merian's incredible life story alongside colorful reproductions of her engravings and watercolors of the butterflies she encountered during her lifetime in Germany and the Netherlands, and her seminal trip to the Dutch colony of Surinam. The book recounts Merian's monumental expedition, her work as an advocate for the slave laborers of Surinam, and her important studies of the anatomy and life cycle of the butterfly. Author Boris Friedewald employs Merian's favorite insect as a metaphor for the artist's own pioneering evolution from budding entomologist to educator, activist, and artist. A visual treasure as well as a satisfying read, this exquisite volume is the perfect gift for anyone interested in Merian's amazing life and groundbreaking body of work.
Documents the work of a young girl, Maria Merian, who lived during the Middle Ages and disproved the theory of spontaneous generation by observing caterpillars as they spun cocoons and emerged as butterflies and moths in the spring. By the author of the Newbery Honor Book, The Surrender Tree.