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Maria Sibylla Merian
and the Tradition
of Flower Depiction

11 Oct 2017–14 Jan 2018

About the Exhibition

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), a native of Frankfurt, was not only a highly prominent naturalist but also one of the most renowned artists of her time. The year 2017 marks the 300th anniversary of her death. On this occasion, the Städel Museum presented the special exhibition “Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Depiction” from 11 October 2017 to 14 January 2018. The show acquainted visitors with the fascinating and filigree world of flower and plant depiction in drawings and prints of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Developed in collaboration with the Kupferstichkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Technische Universität Berlin, the exhibition featured major works by Maria Sibylla Merian in the context of flower depictions by her forerunners, contemporaries and successors, among them the famous Hortus Eystettensis by the pharmacist Basilius Besler (1561–1629) of Nuremberg, ornament engravings by Martin Schongauer (ca. 1445–1491), pharmacopeia of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, plant studies from the circle of Albrecht Dürer, and studies of nature by Georg Flegel (1566–1638) and Joris (Georg) Hoefnagel (1542–1600/01) of the period around 1600. Flower drawings by Bartholomäus Braun were on view, as well as floral compositions by Barbara Regina Dietzsch (1706–1783) and her circle of the eighteenth century. “Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Depiction” presented more than 150 works in all: sheets from the collections of the Städel and the Kupferstichkabinett, but also valuable loans from the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Sächsische Landes- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg in Frankfurt.

Curators: Dr. Martin Sonnabend (Head of Prints and Drawings before 1750, Städel Museum), Dr. Michael Roth (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett)



Sponsored by
Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain