Who was Maria Sibylla Merian?

TEACHER, ARTIST, RESEARCHER, AUTHOR

MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN WAS A SPECIALIST IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT PROFESSIONS:
SHE TRAINED HER FEMALE PUPILS IN DRAWING, PAINTING AND EMBROIDERY.
SHE PAINTED FLOWERS AND BUTTERFLIES IN FASCINATING WATERCOLOURS.
SHE DREW AND DESCRIBED MANY PLANTS AND ANIMALS IN PRECISE DETAIL.
SHE PUBLISHED HER EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE IN WORDS AND PICTURES.
Maria Sibylla Merian

Stages in her Life

1647: Birth in Frankfurt

1665: Marriage to the Nuremberg artist Johann Andreas Graff

1668: Birth of the first daughter and relocation to Nuremberg

1678: Birth of the second daughter

1682: Move from Nuremberg to Frankfurt

1686: Move to Friesland to join a religious community

1691: Relocation to Amsterdam

1699 bis 1701: Expedition to Surinam in South America

1705: Publication of her masterpiece about the tropics in Surinam with many exotic plants and animals

1717: Death in Amsterdam

Coloured copper print, the title page of the Second Caterpillar Book

Her Time in Nuremberg

HER TIME AS A MARRIED WOMAN, MRS. GRÄFFIN

with many advantages for her career in Nuremberg:

  • as a city of education with good schools, many professional training facilities and its own University
  • as a city of knowledge with public and private libraries and many then new books on the natural sciences
  • as a city of arts with an academy for visual arts that still exists today
  • as a city of collections of natural objects, such as dried plants, stones, shells or preserved butterflies, in the famous "Cabinets of Curiosities" (Wunderkammern)
  • as a city of garden culture with hundreds of family gardens and rare plants
  • as a city with opportunities for immigrants and women

Life cycle of a butterfly (metamorphosis), details of a copper print by Merian

Merian's Life

HER TRACES IN NUREMBERG AND ELSEWHERE

26
Entries

for christening, marriage, death in church records

2
Merian Portraits

and many fictional likenesses

138
Copper prints

in three flower books and two caterpillar books

4
Artists

in one family: parents and two daughters

1
Drawing

of the Labadists’ settlement

7
Steps

towards a
difficult divorce

With Merian’s Legacy

Into the future

THE INITIATIVE "MERIANIN 2018+" WANTS TO HELP ENSURE THAT WELL INTO THE FUTURE WE ARE STILL ABLE TO ADMIRE BUZZING AND FLUTTERING CREATURES, NOT ONLY IN MERIAN’S FASCINATING DEPICTIONS BUT THROUGHOUT THE NATURAL WORLD AS WELL.
Places of Remembrance

in Nuremberg

MORE THAN 330 YEARS AGO MARIA SIBYLLA AND HER FAMILY LEFT NUREMBERG FOR GOOD.
PEOPLE IN OUR CITY ARE INTERESTED IN THIS "TEMPORARY NUREMBERGER”.
THEY CHERISH HER MEMORY WITH A PLAQUE ON HER HOUSE AT BERGSTRASSE 10 AND WITH THE MERIAN GARDEN AT THE IMPERIAL CASTLE.
THESE PLACES, TOGETHER WITH THE NUMEROUS HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS IN NUREMBERG ARCHIVES, OFFER MUCH MORE IN COMMEMORATION OF MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN WHICH SHE LIVED. MANY COMMITTED CITIZENS ALSO HOPE FOR A "MERIANIN-UFERWEG" (MERIAN RIVERSIDE WALK) ALONG THE RIVER PEGNITZ.
en_USEnglish