The artist Maria Sibylla Merian was one of the most important entomologists of the 17th century. Her studies of caterpillars, which she reared herself, contributed to knowledge of the life cycles of numerous species. Trained as a miniature painter by her stepfather, she combined her artistic talent with her scientific interest, creating images such as this one, which portrays the life cycle of the European pink-spotted hawk moth as well as its favorite food, the morning glory. Merian added additional caterpillar species to the sheet to create a pleasing and astonishingly detailed composition.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art)