Changing the Nature of Art and Science: Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian

Type: Call for Papers
Date: June 7, 2017 to June 9, 2017
Location: Netherlands
Subject Fields: Early Modern History and Period Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Humanities, Fine Arts

Amsterdam 7, 8 and 9 June 2017

What: Conference on the life, works and influence of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
When: 7, 8 and 9 June 2017
Where: Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam
Title: Changing the Nature of Art and Science. Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) is one of the more intriguing figures of scientific, artistic and commercial culture of the early modern period. Born in Frankfurt, and later based in Nuremberg, Wieuwerd and Amsterdam, her scientific interest in entomology led her eventually to Surinam, where, as in Europe, she studied the metamorphoses of insects in their natural habitat. She translated her minute observations into powerful artistic representations that still attract the attention of many scholars, such as biologists, art historians and science historians. Modern artists and novelists also find inspiration in her work and life. In commemoration of her death three hundred years ago the Maria Sibylla Merian Society in cooperation with the Artis Academy, the University of Amsterdam and the Artis Library will organize an international conference in the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam on 7, 8 and 9 June 2017. The aim of the conference is to bring together new research and projects relating to Maria Sibylla Merian. With her life and work as a focal point this conference will also discuss topics that relate to Merian from a broader perspective.
Topics will include:
  • the religious, scientific, commercial, artistic context in which Merian worked and the overlapping  areas among these cultural fields
  • techniques and visual strategies of natural history illustration
  • cultures of collecting and book production
  • entomological research in Merian’s time
  • new biographical and archival research into Merian’s life
  • Merian’s networks in Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Amsterdam and Surinam
  • Surinam as a colony and a place for commerce and study
  • female naturalists, collectors and artists
  • Merian’s influence on later naturalists and illustrators of natural history
  • Merian’s heritage in a broader sense
  • Merian’s art as inspirations for modern artists and novelists
We invite proposals for papers of 30 minutes (plenary sessions) and of 15 minutes (parallel sessions) that should be based on new or ongoing research. Proposals should be not more than 250 words in length and are due by 1 December 2016. Please send your proposal to:
Contact Info: 
Bert van de Roemer
‎Assistant Professor, Cultural Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Contact Email: