- 96 pages
- Level: all audiences — younger readers. Click here for other resources for younger readers.
Maria Sibylla Merian was a scientist with great interest in insects who was also a remarkably talented artist. This book, written by Sarah B. Pomeroy and Jeyaraney Kathirithamby and published by the J. Paul Getty Museum is suitable for younger readers (the Getty states “ages ten and up”) but it contains much material and many beautiful illustrations that will keep older readers engaged as well. Pomeroy is Distinguished Professor of Classics and History, Emerita, at Hunter College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She is widely published and recognized as a pioneer in the field of Women’s History, but she wrote this book for her seven grandchildren. Kathirithamby is an entomologist at the Department of Zoology and St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford. She is the world authority on the entomophagous parasitoid Strepsiptera, on which she has published extensively.
The authors do not delve deeply into the religious life of Merian and of others of her time, but they do not ignore it, either. For example, they quote the artist Rosina Helena Fürst, one of Merian’s contemporaries, arguing for the abilities of women: “The Lord God … also gave females eyes with which to see, ears with which to hear, and a tongue with which to speak. He filled their hearts with understanding….”
From the publisher:
Science and art combine in this captivating, lushly illustrated biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), one of the world’s first entomologists, who was also a botanist, naturalist, and celebrated artist.
In 1660, at the age of thirteen, Merian began her study of butterfly metamorphosis—years before any other scientist published an accurate description of the process. Later, she and her daughter Dorothea ventured thousands of miles from the Netherlands to the rain forests of South America seeking new and amazing insects to observe and illustrate.
Years after her death, Merian’s accurate and beautiful illustrations were used by scientists, including Carl Linnaeus, to classify species, and today her prints and paintings are prized by museums around the world. More than a dozen species of plants and animals are named in her honor.
The first Merian biography written for ages ten and up, this book will enchant budding scientists and artists alike. Readers will be inspired by Merian’s talent, curiosity, and grit and will be swept up by the story of her life, which was adventurous even by today’s standards. With its lively text, quotations from Merian’s own study book, and fascinating sidebars on history, art, and science, this volume is an ideal STEAM title.
Click here for a preview, courtesy of Google Books.