Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A revolutionary thinker

This week on display as part of the Special Collections spotlight exhibition Some Notes from Nature is this visually stunning work by the artist, naturalist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). The accuracy and realism of Merian’s depictions of insects in Erucarum ortus : alimentum et paradoxa metamorphosis (Amstelaedami : apud Joannem Oosterwyk , [1717]) were fuelled by lifelong observation, and served to revolutionise entomological thinking. The illustrations depict the different life stages of moth and butterfly species from chrysalis to adult, along with their associated food plants.

The work is here translated into Latin by her daughter and frequent touring companion Dorothea (1678-1745).
If you would like to view the spotlight exhibition, or to consult material in this vein, please contact the staff of the Special Collections Reading Room in the Hardiman Research Building at specialcollections@nuigalway.ie.
A spotlight exhibition can also be viewed on the digital display wall in the Hardiman Foyer during the month of May.

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