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Google doodle celebrates life of artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian


The 366th anniversary of the birth of German artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian is celebrated in Google’s latest doodle.

Born on 2 April 1647 in Frankfurt, Merian became widely regarded for her detailed paintings and studies of the natural world.

She began painting insect specimens at the age of 13 and later worked as a botanic artist and teacher, publishing three collections of her engravings in 1675, 1677 and 1680.

Her observations of the life-cycle and metamorphosis of the butterfly are seen as a significant influence in the development of entomology, and are recognised in the first “g” of the Google doodle.

In 1699 she travelled to Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Giana, after she became inspired by the specimens imported from the Dutch colonies. During her two year stay she sketched native plants and animals, and in 1705 published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensiu, showing the insects of Suriname.

In 1715 Merian suffered a stroke and became partially paralysed. She died two years later aged 69 in Amsterdam.

The Google doodle in recognition of her work shows leaves, stems, caterpillars and butterflies to form the search engine’s logo.

Google’s first doodle was created in 1998 to honour the Burning Man Festival. Since then other doodles have recognised noted artists and scientist including Andy Warhol, Samuel Morse, H.G Wells and more recently Douglas Adams.