Maria Sibylla Merian Celebrated with Google Doodle

    April 1, 2013
    Josh Wolford

On April 2nd, Google is celebrating naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian with a beautiful Doodle featuring various forms of small wildlife – butterflies, caterpillars, a lizard, and more.

German-born Maria Sibylla Merian is known for both her plant and animal illustrations. As a botanic artist, Merian published three collections of plant engraving from 1675 to 1680. Shortly after that, Merian began to study insects. She is famous for her metamorphosis depictions where all stages of the insect’s life were depicted on the same page.

Closely studying insects wasn’t too common in her time, and her depictions of metamorphosis lead some to categorize her as an important figure in entomology.

In her time, Merian chronicled the metamorphosis of nearly 200 different species.

This painting, showing the metamorphosis of Thysania agrippina, was completed in 1705:

Merian also drew other creatures such as snakes, iguanas, spiders, and frogs – and these drawings are still highly collectible.

She died in 1717 after suffering a stroke a couple of years earlier. Erucarum Ortus Alimentum et Paradoxa Metamorphosis, a collection of her work, was published later by her daughter. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates her 366th birthday.