It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Insects of Surinam by Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian's Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, originally published in 1705 included 60 copperplate engravings illustrating the stages of insect development. The insects were arranged around the cultivated and wild plants Maria Sibylla came across on her travels in Surinam 1699-1701. 
These plates have now been republished as Insects of Surinam with commentaries by Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Loske. This recent publication also includes Schmidt-Loske's introduction about Maria Sibylla Merian: Maria Sibylla Merian's "extremely costly" journey to nature's treasure house, a thorough historical sketch of the artist's life. The plates are TASCHEN's reprint of a hand-colored first edition copy currently archived in the Library of Basel, Switzerland and many of them have not been published before. 
This beautiful and informative book can certainly be recommended for every nature illustrator, botanist and entomologist. It is very conveniently written in English, German and France.
(Plate #34: Vitis vinifera and Eumorpha labruscae - please click the image to enlarge)

The author, Katharina Schmidt-Loske earned her doctorate in biology at the University of Bonn with the dissertation titled Die Tierwelt der Maria Sibylla Merian. She is now the director of the Biohistoricum at the Museum Koenig in Bonn. 

(Plate #23: Musa paradisiaca, Caligo teucer and Cnemidophorus lemniscatus - please click the image to enlarge) 

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