Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium

Maria Sibylla Merian

The European Enlightenment brought with it an interest in observing, documenting, and attempting to explain natural phenomena. This interest was carried out across the colonies by European travelers such as Maria Sibylla Merian, the German-born artist and scientist whose Transformation of the Surinamese insects documents in precise and spectacular detail the life stages of various insects and other creatures of Surinam. First published in Amsterdam in 1705, and reprinted posthumously with additional plates in 1719, the Metamorphosis applies Merian's expertise as an artist and entrepreneur to her careful observation of South American plants and animals and their transformations over time. The work stands out among the JCB's materials relating to natural history and New World exploration for its importance in the history of women in science.

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