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Maria Sibylla Merian’s Caterpillar Book
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The Flowering of Ecology presents an English translation of Maria Sibylla Merian’s 1679 ‘caterpillar’ book, Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumen–Nahrung. Her processes in making the book and an analysis of its scientific content are presented in a historical context. Merian raised insects for five decades, recording the food plants, behavior and ecology of roughly 300 species. Her most influential invention was an 'ecological' composition in which the metamorphic cycles of insects (usually moths and butterflies) were arrayed around plants that served as food for the caterpillars. Kay Etheridge analyzes the 1679 caterpillar book from the viewpoint of a biologist, arguing that Merian’s study of insect interactions with plants, the first of its kind, was a formative contribution to natural history.

Read Kay Etheridge’s blogpost on “Art Herstory”.

See inside the book.
Paintings, Drawings and Prints up to the Nineteenth Century
Authors: and
This richly illustrated book provides an overview of all known Dutch and Flemish artists up to the nineteenth century who painted or drew flower pieces, or else made prints of them. Unlike many mainstream art historical studies, the book takes a truly comprehensive approach, including cases where only a single example is known or even if nothing of the artist’s other work appears to have survived. Containing highly instructive lists identifying the names of flowers, as well as insects and other animals, the book also discusses the earliest depictions of flower still life and the distinctive characteristics behind the development of floral arrangements in different periods, including the variation of the flowers, the variety of techniques used by artists, as well as an exploration of the symbolism behind the numerous plant and animal species this form of art portrays.

Composed in Dutch, the text was translated into English by Judith Deitch and edited by Philip Kelleway.

Publication of this book was made possible thanks to generous support of:
• Dr. med. Bettina Leysen
• Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

With additional support of the M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting.

See inside the book.