I just love bugs. I love drawings of bugs, books about bugs, bugs in the wild and even, yes, sorry, dead bugs on display. I’m just not very PC.
One of the most famous bug-lovers was artist Maria Sibylla Merian. She and her daughters were exceptional examples of women ahead of their time.
As an early 18th Century botanical artist, Merian’s drive to study and document new species of flora and fauna (more than what she could experience in Europe) lead her to relocate herself and one of her daughters to the tropics of Suriname.
She did not just sketch what she saw, she studied, noted and documented the behaviors of her insect subjects, making her unique among her peers.
She contributed greatly to shaping the field of entomology, helping to disprove the commonly held belief that insects reproduced by spontaneous generation from decaying matter.
Her careful, aesthetic sensitivity helped to raise the standards of scientific illustration, which was often treated in a cursory, rudimental fashion at the time.
Publications (of both hers and her daughters’ paintings) include The New Book of Flowers, The Caterpillar Book and The Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname (known as The Insects of Suriname).