Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was an intrepid artist and scientist who defied the conventions of her time to pursue her passion for documenting the natural world in all its glorious, and sometimes ferocious, detail.Between 1699-1701, she travelled to the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America to study the area's unique flora and fauna. Many of the drawings and painting she produced on this trip were published as hand-coloured counter proofs in her Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname (1705). Insects and Flowers is a delightfully illustrated volume that reproduces vivid colour details of sixteen plates from that volume, as well as presenting an insect and plant identification guide, and an engaging essay on Merian's life and work.
David Brafman is curator of rare books at the Getty Research Institute. Stephanie Schrader is assistant curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.