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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Ripe Pineapple with Dido Longwing Butterfly 1702-03

RCIN 921154

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The pineapple plant was South American in origin and Merian depicted this example growing in Surinam. Fruits were imported by the Dutch West Indian Company to Europe, where they were regarded as extraordinarily precious and rare novelties. One of Merian’s patrons, a wealthy Dutch garden lover Agneta Block (1629 – 1704), was the first European to grow a fruiting pineapple successfully in the botanical garden on her estate at Vijverhof near Amsterdam in 1687.