Maria Sibylla Merian; an extraordinary woman

If you get the chance go to see the “Maria Sibylla Merian and daughters” exhibition that’s currently on at the Rembranthuis here in Amsterdam. Her paintings are vibrant and detailed, and her life is fascinating.Maria Sibylla Merian learnt to paint from her step-father and specialised in plants and insects, often portraying the full lifecycle of the insect on the plant that it ate. Her work was used as field guides and by scientists

In later life she went, with her daughters who assisted her, to Suriname where she collected and documented many previously unknown species. This must have been an incredible journey in that time (she travelled in 1699).

In her lifetime she became world famous, her observation of insect life drew her to conclusions that were dismissed as fantasy by her peers but later proved correct.

If you haven’t already looked around Rembrandt’s house that is also interesting. Particularly his studio with its wall of north facing windows on the upper floor. The Rembrandt’s bed shows how short he must have been.

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