She and her work came much before Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish Naturalist responsible for the modern system of naming and classifying organisms, and even before Charles Darwin. And, even though she is less famous than these great scientists, Maria Sibylla Merian – a painter – contributed to Science primarily with her paintings on caterpillars in their natural environments depicting the relationships between the insects and their environment. Linnaeus used her paintings for his classification. Moreover, this seventeenth century woman was far ahead of her time: in her quest to find tiny organisms in their environment, this courageous woman – now well in her fifties – travelled to South America and funded her journey by selling her paintings. The fruit of her endeavor was perhaps her magnum opus.
The shades and hues of Blue colour are omnipresent – it is the colour of the sky and the reflected sky in water; it could be the colour of someone’s eyes; and it is the colour of a part of the flame. In the times of famous painters as Michelangelo, Rafael, and Vermeer, the shade of blue called ultramarine was a prized colour. It was so expensive that Michelangelo could not afford it and Vermeer went into debt using the colour generously in his paintings. The synthetic variety of ultramarine is available now but it is no replacement for the multi-hued original ultramarine.
Here’s a review of a biography of a great artist- Vincent Van Gogh. The famous painter (who became famous much later though) was a freeloader, was given to tantrums, and pretty much self-destructive. And, although he was given to pleading, evasion, and manipulation, Van Gogh’s art (as the writer puts it) and his letters were the opposite – clear and remarkable. The review gives interesting tidbits of Van Gogh’s life when he was growing up, while showing what went behind the making of this great painter.