Artist of the moment…..Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian was born in Frankfurt, Germany in the year 1647. Merian would go on to be a fantastic botanical illustrator and also was among the worlds first entomologists (the study of bugs.) Bugs were seen as beasts of the devil plain simple, Merian broke the mold by collecting and studying how they changed over time.  She loved to draw caterpillars as they progressed through their life span.

The artist has been included on a monetary note, the first image in the gallery.

price range information: She worked mainly in watercolour and gouache ranging fromm $4,000 to $300,000.

Born in 1647 her family was involved in the publishing industry. Her father passed away when she was only three years old. Her mother would remarry a renown artist named Jacob Marrel who would become the artist’s main mentor and teacher. Below a wonderful example of Marrel’s work:


When she was eighteen years old she married Marrel’s studio apprentice Johann Graff. He was from Nuremberg, Germany and the couple would move to this city and she continued to draw and paint and also gave lessons to the unmarried ladies of the wealthy social elite. These connections gave her access to the best gardens in the territory.

In this clip a montage of works by the artist including many of her engravings in additions to her paintings:

In 1669 the city of Amsterdam paid for her to travel abroad to South America and the country of Suriname to study the plants and insects. It was very unusual for a city to sponsor such a trip for a female artist. Merian would become famous from the books she published showing the world the wonderful botanical life that existed in these far off lands.

Maria Sibylla Merian passed away in 1717 at the age of 69 years old.

In this clip we view more works by the artist but this clip features nearly entirely paintings and no engravings:

Merian loved to study entomology and made a prolific body of work covering the illustrations of spiders, frogs, snakes, and beetles. If you enjoy bugs and butterflies be sure and check out my favorite bug artist Marc Dennis. This is an artist who even eats these exotic bugs that he paints. Very interesting!  Below work by Marc Dennis:


A link to the website of Marc Dennis:

And in this clip from Marc Dennis we watch him relax with Al Roker and cook up some bugs to eat!


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