Today’s Google Doodle honors Maria Sibylla Merian, a naturalist and scientific illustrator who studied plants and insects and made detailed paintings about them. It’s her 366th birthday today. The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article about her life and the importance of her work.
So why should we care about Merian all these centuries later? Well, as the website of the J. Paul Getty Museum puts it, Merian and her daughters (and more on them later) were not just extremely talented artists. They were also pioneers, who “raised the artistic standards of natural history illustration and helped transform the field of entomology.”