Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer

POMEROY, Sarah B. & . 96p. bibliog. glossary. index. photos. reprods. Getty. Mar. 2018. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781947440012.
Gr 3–7—Maria Sibylla Merian worked at a time when women scientists were rare, photography had not yet been invented, the life cycle from a caterpillar to a butterfly was unknown, and Carl Linnaeus's biological classification system was still years away. Merian observed the natural world, recorded her observations in detailed drawings, and even made the journey to Surinam to study local flora and fauna. Here, her story is told in chronological order, beginning with her artistic family in Frankfurt, Germany, and concluding with the legacy she left to future artists and scientists. Images—including portraits, scientific drawings by Merian and her colleagues, and photos of objects and places—are explained in detail. When exact specifics are unknown, likely possibilities are included and explained ("there are no written records of exactly what kind of ship she sailed on, but it is possible to learn about 17th-century Dutch shipping and make an educated guess"). Occasionally some spreads are confusingly laid out. Back matter is highlighted by a detailed bibliography and a section describing the methods used to research 17th-century women's history.
VERDICT A visually stunning, well-researched biography of a woman artist and scientist. Pair with Joyce Sidman's The Girl Who Drew Butterflies.

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