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Changing the Nature of Art and Science.
Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian

Amsterdam 7, 8 and 9 June 2017

What: Conference on the life, works and influence of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
When: 7, 8 and 9 June 2017
Where: Amsterdam, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)
Title: Changing the Nature of Art and Science. Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) is one of the more intriguing figures of scientific, artistic and commercial culture of the early modern period. Born in Frankfurt, and later based in Nuremberg, Wieuwerd and Amsterdam, her scientific interest in entomology led her eventually to Surinam, where, as in Europe, she studied the metamorphoses of insects in their natural habitat. She translated her minute observations into powerful artistic representations that still attract the attention of many scholars, such as biologists, art historians and science historians. Modern artists and novelists also find inspiration in her work and life. In commemoration of her death three hundred years ago the Maria Sibylla Merian Society in cooperation with the Artis Academy, the University of Amsterdam and the Artis Library will organize an international conference in the Royal Tropical Institute and the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam on 7, 8 and 9 June 2017. The aim of the conference is to bring together new research and projects relating to Maria Sibylla Merian. With her life and work as a focal point this conference will also discuss topics that relate to Merian from a broader perspective.

Topics will include:

  • the religious, scientific, commercial, artistic context in which Merian worked and the overlappingĀ  areas among these cultural fields
  • techniques and visual strategies of natural history illustration
  • cultures of collecting and book production
  • entomological research in Merian’s time
  • new biographical and archival research into Merian’s life
  • Merian’s networks in Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Amsterdam and Surinam
  • Surinam as a colony and a place for commerce and study
  • female naturalists, collectors and artists
  • Merian’s influence on later naturalists and illustrators of natural history
  • Merian’s heritage in a broader sense
  • Merian’s art as inspirations for modern artists and novelists