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Half height banner for Maria Merian exhibition, showing a butterfly
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Beyond Metamorphosis

In 1701 Merian was forced to cut short her trip to Suriname due to illness, and returned to Amsterdam, where she worked to publish the results of her research as the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium.  As well as depicting insect life cycles, she made drawings of some of the other animals that she encountered in South America. Many of these were taken from preserved specimens which she had brought back with her from Suriname.

Some of Merian’s drawings were included as plates in the Metamorphosis, but she also planned a second volume illustrating the reptiles of Suriname. This was never published, perhaps due to her ill health. Maria Sibylla Merian died, aged 69, in Amsterdam on 13 January 1717.

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