08 April 2013


Seeing this post on Maria Sybilla Merian, who Google commemorated on her birthday, April 2, reminded me of this little book, found in a charity shop -
"The little book of tropical wonders"
It was published in Leipzig, possibly in 1950 or maybe in 1935. Inside are 24 plates, and text about Maria Sybilla's life and art - her amazing journey to South America in 1699, at the age of 52, with her daughter Johanna Helena. The drawings on which the plates are based were made there, and she also did ground-breaking work on the life-cycle of insects, which was published in 1705 but, being written in the vernacular rather than Latin, was largely ignored by scientists. Most of her work was published in Holland, though she mostly lived in Germany, where women were not allowed to be artists.
Fairly recently, Maria Sybilla's work has been rediscovered, and she now appears on German banknotes - even though no portrait of her is known to be authentic.

1 comment:

Jane Housham said...

What a marvellous find -- envious.