Maria Sybilla

painter, copperplate engraver, natural scientist

born Frankfurt a.M., 02. Apr 1647

died Amsterdam, 13. Jan 1717

Her Father was the famous copperplate engraver and publisher Matthäus Merian the Elder, who died three years after her birth. She grew up and received her artistic education in the household of her stepfather, the painter of flowers and still-lifes, Jacob Marell as well as of her brothers, the copperplate engravers Caspar and Matthew. In 1665 she married the draftsman, copperplate engraver and publisher Johann Andreas Graff. They had two daughters, the younger of whom one was born in Nurember, whereto the couple had moved in 1668 and where they lived together until 1682. In Nuremberg the three volumes of the Flower-Book and the first part of the Caterpillar-Book were created and edited in the publishing house of her husband, who also took part in creating these works. In 1682 Maria Sybilla Merian returned to Frankfurt, in 1685 the couple separated and in1695 thev finally got divorced. Maria Sybilla Merian became world famous as a scientist and artist after the adventurous journey she undetook with her younger daughter to the Dutch colony of Surinam, where she studied the life of the insects in the jungles and documented it by painting exact but also artistically high quality watercolor pictures (1699 to 1701), which were published in the splendid volume „Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium“ from 1705 on. Apart from that she worked all her life as a highly appreciated painter of flowers as well as a very much sought after painting teacher for ladies.