Born on the 2nd of April 1647 and the legacy Maria Sibylla Merian left behind earned her a spot in the Google Doodles Gallery. Artists, Historians, Photographers and people whom have influenced history and humankind are regularly featured on the Search Giant’s homepage, and having this massive exposure could easily be counted as a major legacy that these people have left behind.
In the case of Maria Sibylla Merian the designers at Google have used some of her most known interests inside the Google Doodle to design today’s doodle. In the doodle one can see a Chameleon, worm, butterfly, wasp and mosquito on what looks like leaves from a tree. These all were some of the insects that Maria Sibylla Merian specialized in. She were one of the first illustrators who scientifically studied plants and insects creating detailed paintings and drawings of these insects and plants.
Her detailed observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly make her a significant, albeit not well known, contributor to entomology.
Learn About Maria Sibylla Merian
- She was born in Frankfurt Germany.
- She died in Amsterdam, Netherlands on the 3rd of January 1717.
- Maria Sibylla Merian published three collections and scientific artistic drawing books for plants in 1675, 1677 and 1680.
- She were one of the first accurately drawing the metamorphosis of several insects including drawing exoskeleton and other details of various insects.
- Her Metamorphosis drawings included all stages of the development of insects including the egg, larva, pupa, and adult phases.
- Before Maria Sibylla Merian detailed studies people believed that insects were “Beasts of the Devil” and that they were born from mud.
- Maria Sibylla Merian studies included images and drawings from more than 186 insect species.
Maria Sibylla Merian books and drawings were very interesting reading material at the time, and Royalty and high society loved to read her books on insects. Interesting to note is that although Maria Sibylla Merian work was very detailed and precise scientists mostly ignored her work, because almost all scientific discoveries and theories were published in Latin at the time.
Maria Sibylla Merian Legacy
Even today many of the insects that Maria Sibylla Merian discovered and named are still relevant today. She self-funded various expeditions to countries like South America and North America where she studied and discovered new insect species. At the time people frowned upon her, since this was not very lady like and generally something that men would do!
“I created the first classification for all the insects which had chrysalises, the daytime butterflies and the nighttime moths. The second classification is that of the maggots, worms, flies and bees. I retained the indigenous names of the plants, because they were still in use in America by both the locals and the Indians”. (In the foreword of Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian).
After Maria Sibylla Merian death her work were acquired by Peter the Great who donated her work to the academic collections that can be viewed in St. Petersburg
Today Google is celebrating the life and legacy of Maria Sibylla Merian one of the first woman right activists and a woman of great legacy!