woensdag 5 juli 2017

FeMailed Artist and Scientist

Recently I was invited to join the 'Femail-XX' mail art project about female art and science.

I chose to draw this illustration, in honour of Maria Sibylla Merian (Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1647 - Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1717). As an artist and scientist, Merian has played an important, be it not so well-known, role in natural history and biology.
Did you know that there were times that people thought butterflies arose spontaneously from mud and dirt? For us it is so obvious that butterflies originate from eggs. However, not until Merian's era people got little by little aware of the connection between butterflies, caterpillars and eggs. And Maria Sibylla Merian was one of the very first to research and draw these species and their metamorphosis. And the very first to add the hosting plants to her insect illustrations.
At older age (as old as I am now) she even traveled by boat to the tropics, a 2 months journey, to Suriname. There she researched more butterflies and other insects, and she has published beautiful, and scientifically seen correct, illustrations of the insects and all stages and surrounding vegetation.

This not so correct drawing is just a small honour to a woman who deserves a high place in natural and art history.

The mail art project's full name is Women Art Scientist Testament Exploration. I couldn't resist the urge to change 'waste' into the well-known female item 'waist'.