Based on her careful observation, Maria Sibylla Merian systematically illustrated different stages of the insect’s development: young brown caterpillar and mature green caterpillar, spun cocoon and glistening pupa, and, hovering above, an adult moth. Merian took special care to describe each element in vivid detail, using vibrant and varied colors of green to capture the individual leaves of the tree as early beginnings of a scientific drawing.
Getty has joined forces with Smarthistory to bring you an in-depth look at select works within our collection, whether you’re looking to learn more at home or want to make art more accessible in your classroom. This video series illuminates art history concepts through fun, unscripted conversations between art historians, curators, archaeologists, and artists, committed to a fresh take on the history of visual arts.
Maria Sibylla Merian, Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandlung und sonderbare Blumennahrung, vol. 1 (Nuremberg: 1679).
Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:
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