The Merian 1726, Pl. 63, Cocoa from Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname captures the developmental cycle of the insect framed by the native Surinamese flora.
This 18th-century hand-colored engraving bears the platemark – a rectangular depression in the paper around the perimeter of the image area – from the intaglio printing process. Printed on laid paper and colored by hand, the artwork features luscious colors, charming details, and nuanced textures that bring the image to life. Enhance your art collection and enliven your walls with this delightful antique engraving.
About Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname
Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinamecomprised 60 hand-colored engravings (12 additional plates added in posthumous editions) and was the first European attempt to visually document and explore the metamorphosis of insects. Created from the two years she spent observing, collecting, and painting the indigenous plants and insects of Suriname, Merian’s elegantly composed prints portray the metamorphosis of one or more species of insect. The insects are depicted in the various stages of development from larva to mature adult and are presented alongside a plant that often serves as a food source. Merian’s hand-colored engravings possess a remarkable delicacy and attention to detail that makes it appear as though the winged insects have only just alighted on the page, but might flutter off at any moment.
About Maria Sibylla Merian
Born in Frankfurt in 1647 to a family of artisans, Maria Sibylla Merian learned the printmaking trade from a young age. As she matured, Merian developed a great interest in insects, which she collected, studied, and drew. At the age of 52, Merian left her home in Amsterdam and traveled with her daughter Dorothea Maria to the Dutch colony of Surinam on the northeastern coast of South America. There, she spent two years observing the indigenous plants and insects, studying and painting them from life. This endeavor resulted in one of the most significant natural history folios of the 18th century, Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium or Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname, the culmination of her career as an artist and naturalist. Merian is one of the first entomologists to discover and document insect metamorphosis.
For more information about Merian 1726, Pl. 63, Cocoa, email us at [email protected] or check out our articles Examining the Art of Maria Sibylla Merian through the Lens of 17th-century Dutch Still-Life Painting and The Influence of Scientific Modalities of Perception and Representation in Merian’s Artwork.
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