Maria Merian was a scientific illustrator who studies all sorts of plants and insects. Of course in her time, illustration was the best way to record an image of anything, whether it be animal, mineral or vegetable in order to enable identification. One of her most important works was the documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly.
Maria was born in Frankfurt in 1947. Her father died when she was very young and when her mother remarried to still life painter Jacob Marrel, he encouraged Maria to illustrate.
“In my youth, I spent my time investigating insects. At the beginning, I started with silk worms in my home town of Frankfurt. I realised that other caterpillars produced beautiful butterflies or moths, and that silk worms did the same. This led me to collect all the caterpillars I could find in order to see how they changed”. (foreword from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium — Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam)