Bringing the work of Maria Sibylla Merian back OFF THE PAGE – 

Help us bring to life Maria Sibylla Merian entomological observations and paintings from the 1700’s as we replicate her original work as sculpture using real specimens.

While there have been a number of books addressing the work and contribution of Maria, there have been very few exhibitions outside of books under glass available for public observation. This exhibition presents a very new way to view not only the historical prints themselves, but also lends an eye into the process before their production.

Maria Sibylla Merian

Who is this Maria Sibylla Merian?

Born in Germany in the late 1600’s to a family of artists and print makers Maria was encouraged to be curious and creative. In a time when Germany was burning witches and insects were largely considered to have spawned from hell, Maria began studying and documenting insect life. Unlike her ‘colleges’ she was not primarily interested in classification or studying dead specimens. She sought out living creatures and the plants they thrived on. She raised them and studied their life cycles.  She wanted to know what they ate, how they reproduced and what propelled them from egg to imago.

Maria documented her findings in beautiful watercolors that she sold to nobles such as Peter the Great. She ultimately used the money from the sales of her first two collections and paintings to fund what is considered to be one first truly scientific field expedition.

The results of her field expedition to Suriname yielded her third book of watercolors, Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705), an elephant folio of watercolors (individually hand colored by Maria and her daughters) that documents the insects and plant life of Suriname.  Each painting demonstrates the vibrant and active lifecycles of her specimens on their host plants.

Maria discovered unknown species in Suriname and described them by  their native names and how the natives interacted with them. Maria documented the life cycles of insects in a way that had never been done. The text of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, was in Dutch, instead of Latin, considered at the time to be the language of science. This had two effects, one that she was, unfortunately not taken seriously by some of her male counter parts, but on a positive note, it also meant that everyone could read and understand the text, making her findings accessible to a non-scientific audience. 

Our many thanks go out to author Kim Todd, who has generously helped us unwrap some of the mysteries and adventures surrounding Maria.  And by the way, her biography Chrysalis is simply amazing. 
Kim_Todd

Maria Sibylla Merian

The little moth and lizard in the middle don’t match these particular plates but the actual plate specimens have been identified and are available!  Your support of this indiegogo campaign will make recreating these plates a reality. 

sm

And you already know you want to see this 4 foot caiman come back ‘OFF THE PAGE’ –
With community support, we can do it!

THE IMPACT – ‘OFF THE PAGE’

Exposure. Allowing the original paintings “out of the stacks” to be observed by the public allows for her work to live on through a modern audience and fulfills the mandate that Libraries have to both preserve rare books and keep them relevant to the present.

Awareness. By introducing viewers to this work we hope to inspire a new generation of Naturalists. Through the workshops we will train participants to work within a naturalist philosophy both responsibly and creatively.

Collaboration. This work brings together a large number of arts, sciences, and governmental institutions. This paves the way for additional collaboration in the future. The bonds made here will bear fruit for decades to come.

Innovation. This is also a project that has not been done before. Recreating illustrations as sculpture in this manner may become a preferred method for future exhibits by other institutions. We are paving the way using a new method to look at scientific illustration. Audubon next?

Community. We will be utilizing the services of other local artists in the completion of these works from glass blowing to print making. Support for this project puts Cincinnati artists to work! 

Conservation. We are also working with local gardeners and providing sapplings and seeds to those who might like to attract a few butterflies to their own landscape. With the help of entomologists and botanists in Cincinnati we hope to further educate the public about what conservation means and how each individual can take matters into their own hands. 

MWN chamaeleon logo_sm
anna2

While there have been a number of books addressing the work and contribution of Maria, there have been very few exhibitions outside of books under glass available for public observation. This exhibition presents a very new way to view not only the historical prints themselves, but also lends an eye into the process before their production. We plan on including six workshops for the public ranging from how to display insects and how to preserve botanicals in the same manner as we have done in our work as a taxidermists.  These workshops will follow our ‘see with your own eyes, touch with your own hands’  approach, offering participates the opportunity to utilizing the vast treasure trove of experience Maria has made available to us and create personal artistic works inspired by the natural world. From preservation techniques to creative display, we hope to inspire an adventure to study and document the natural world through direct contact with the natural world, while educating Cincinnati about the life of such a remarkable women during a time in which it was extraordinarily difficult for women to gain a foothold in the sciences. 

Bringing the work of Maria Sibylla Merian back OFF THE PAGE – 

  • MIM (20)
  • MIM (56)
  • MIM (14)
  • MIM (18)
  • MIM (5)
  • MIM (46)
  • MIM (9)
  • MIM (49)

Help us bring to life Maria Sibylla Merian entomological observations and paintings from the 1700’s as we replicate her original work as sculpture using real specimens.

  • regal
  • monarch_21sm
  • centipede_1
  • moth_luna_3
  • moth_moth_cecropia_1
  • moth_io_2
  • moth_cecropia_caterpillar_4
  • mantis_egg

While there have been a number of books addressing the work and contribution of Maria, there have been very few exhibitions outside of books under glass available for public observation. This exhibition presents a very new way to view not only the historical prints themselves, but also lends an eye into the process before their production.

Maria Sibylla Merian

Interested in knowing more about Meddling with Nature?!  
Check out the video below and see all the fun things we’ve
dipped our hands in!

Meddling with Nature is dedicated to exploring the connection between art and natural science. Starting with a love for medical illustration, Meddling with Nature quickly incorporated naturalistic, artistic and anthropomorphic taxidermy. Our goal includes a mandate to educate the public on both biological and naturalist themes through direct, hands on experience. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2016.  And highly excited to share more of our Meddling with folks in and around Cincinnati!

Wanna Know More About Meddling With Nature?! Check out our intro to us video!

Who is this Maria Sibylla Merian?

Born in Germany in the late 1600’s to a family of artists and print makers Maria was encouraged to be curious and creative. In a time when Germany was burning witches and insects were largely considered to have spawned from hell, Maria began studying and documenting insect life. Unlike her ‘colleges’ she was not primarily interested in classification or studying dead specimens. She sought out living creatures and the plants they thrived on. She raised them and studied their life cycles.  She wanted to know what they ate, how they reproduced and what propelled them from egg to imago.

Maria documented her findings in beautiful watercolors that she sold to nobles such as Peter the Great. She ultimately used the money from the sales of her first two collections and paintings to fund what is considered to be one first truly scientific field expedition.

The results of her field expedition to Suriname yielded her third book of watercolors, Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705), an elephant folio of watercolors (individually hand colored by Maria and her daughters) that documents the insects and plant life of Suriname.  Each painting demonstrates the vibrant and active lifecycles of her specimens on their host plants.

Maria discovered unknown species in Suriname and described them by  their native names and how the natives interacted with them. Maria documented the life cycles of insects in a way that had never been done. The text of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, was in Dutch, instead of Latin, considered at the time to be the language of science. This had two effects, one that she was, unfortunately not taken seriously by some of her male counter parts, but on a positive note, it also meant that everyone could read and understand the text, making her findings accessible to a non-scientific audience. 

Our many thanks go out to author Kim Todd, who has generously helped us unwrap some of the mysteries and adventures surrounding Maria.  And by the way, her biography Chrysalis is simply amazing. 
Kim_Todd

Maria Sibylla Merian

The little moth and lizard in the middle don’t match these particular plates but the actual plate specimens have been identified and are available!  Your support of this indiegogo campaign will make recreating these plates a reality. 

sm

And you already know you want to see this 4 foot caiman come back ‘OFF THE PAGE’ –
With community support, we can do it!

THE IMPACT – ‘OFF THE PAGE’

Exposure. Allowing the original paintings “out of the stacks” to be observed by the public allows for her work to live on through a modern audience and fulfills the mandate that Libraries have to both preserve rare books and keep them relevant to the present.

Awareness. By introducing viewers to this work we hope to inspire a new generation of Naturalists. Through the workshops we will train participants to work within a naturalist philosophy both responsibly and creatively.

Collaboration. This work brings together a large number of arts, sciences, and governmental institutions. This paves the way for additional collaboration in the future. The bonds made here will bear fruit for decades to come.

Innovation. This is also a project that has not been done before. Recreating illustrations as sculpture in this manner may become a preferred method for future exhibits by other institutions. We are paving the way using a new method to look at scientific illustration. Audubon next?

Community. We will be utilizing the services of other local artists in the completion of these works from glass blowing to print making. Support for this project puts Cincinnati artists to work! 

Conservation. We are also working with local gardeners and providing sapplings and seeds to those who might like to attract a few butterflies to their own landscape. With the help of entomologists and botanists in Cincinnati we hope to further educate the public about what conservation means and how each individual can take matters into their own hands. 

MWN chamaeleon logo_sm
anna2

While there have been a number of books addressing the work and contribution of Maria, there have been very few exhibitions outside of books under glass available for public observation. This exhibition presents a very new way to view not only the historical prints themselves, but also lends an eye into the process before their production. We plan on including six workshops for the public ranging from how to display insects and how to preserve botanicals in the same manner as we have done in our work as a taxidermists.  These workshops will follow our ‘see with your own eyes, touch with your own hands’  approach, offering participates the opportunity to utilizing the vast treasure trove of experience Maria has made available to us and create personal artistic works inspired by the natural world. From preservation techniques to creative display, we hope to inspire an adventure to study and document the natural world through direct contact with the natural world, while educating Cincinnati about the life of such a remarkable women during a time in which it was extraordinarily difficult for women to gain a foothold in the sciences.