(bio from: The Royal Collection) Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was one of the greatest artist-naturalists of her time. From childhood she had been fascinated by the life cycles of butterflies, and she made a close study of their transformations. She became a flower-painter and teacher in Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.... in 1699, at the age of fifty-two, Merian made an expedition to Surinam (Dutch Guiana) in South America... to study the indigenous flora and fauna in their tropical habitat. On her return to Amsterdam two years later, she began work on a lavishly illustrated book, the Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (‘The Metamorphoses of the Insects of Surinam’, published in 1705), depicting the life cycles of the region’s insects.
all images from: Wikimedia Commons