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This charming entomology engraving is from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Histoire générale des Insectes de Surinam et de toute l’Europe. Contenant leurs descriptions, leurs figures, leurs differentes metamorphoses. The work was published in Paris by chez L. C. Desnos in 1771. Each engraving features exceptional hand-coloring.
Maria Sibylla Merian was a naturalist and artist. Her contributions to entomology were nevery truly acknowledged in her lifetime, but she is considered a groundbreaker in the fields of botany and zoology. She made detailed observations of live specimens, which was a departure from previous studies that used preserved specimens. She focused great detail on the processes of metamorphosis which had not been studied so comprehensively before her work.
“Her portrayals of living insects and other animals were imbued with a charm, a minuteness of observation and an artistic sensibility that had not previously been seen in a natural history book”. Merian’s “artistic groupings of the insects amidst the tropical flora makes this book one of the most beautiful and unusual in the whole range of natural history” (Landwehr Dutch Books with Coloured Plates, p.28).