On Thursday, 15 December the exhibition “Metamorphoses. Miraculous insects of Maria Merian”, organised in cooperation between the UT Library and UT Natural History Museum, was opened in the Natural History Museum. The exhibition is dedicated to the jubilee year of the Dutch artist and scholar of nature Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) and her notable masterpiece Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium.
The idea of the exhibition was born from the UT Library album calendar for the year 2017 which introduces the book of illustrations by Merian, held in the UT Library’s collection of rare books. “When preparing the calendar, I visited the Natural History Museum and discovered that several insects, depicted by Merian, are shown in the permanent exhibition. So I got an idea to exhibit the illustrations of Merian and the insects together,” said Moonika Teemus, the editor of the calendar and curator of the exhibition. The idea was very warmly welcomed by the UT Natural History Museum.
Visitors can compare the illustrations of Maria Merian with the exotic insects from the collection of the Natural History Museum. The entomologist Andro Truuverk has added explanatory comments to the author’s colourful 300-years old descriptions.
Maria Sibylla Merian is known as one of the founders of entomology. In the years 1699-1701 she spent time in Suriname, a colony of Holland in South America where she collected insects. In the year 1705 her masterpiece Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium was published in Amsterdam. 60 hand-coloured engravings are the greatest value of the book.
The exhibition in the UT Natural History Museum will remain open until 3 December 2017.