Google’s going green today to honor a natural woman: Maria Sibylla Merian, a scientific illustrator born April 2, 1647. (She doesn’t look a day older than 360!)
Merian is best known for the illustrated text Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, which she published in 1705 after spending two years in the Dutch colony of Suriname with her daughter Dorothea (and, somewhat scandalously, without a male companion!). The book included illustrations of both insect life cycles and the plants on which they lived, giving many Europeans their first extensive glimpse at the New World’s botanical and entomological features. Her work garnered several important fans, including Russian emperor Peter the Great. She died in Amsterdam in 1717, two years after suffering a stroke that left her partially paralyzed.
Celebrate Merian’s life today by browsing through a few of her gorgeous prints, not swatting any flies, and eating some pineapple – which the illustrator once described as “the most outstanding of all edible fruits.”