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Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Depiction

Schaumainkai 63, Frankfurt am Main, D 60596, Germany
Wednesday 11th October 2017 till Sunday 14th January 2018.

Flower painting and nature studies form an inextricable link in Maria Sibylla Merian’s exceptional works. The Department of Prints and Drawings of the Städel Museum shows masterful drawings, prints, and books of the Frankfurt-born artist alongside other works in the tradition of flower and plant illustration from the 15th to the 18th century.

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 is presenting the special exhibition “Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Depiction” from 11 October 2017 to 14 January 2018. The show will acquaint 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 will feature 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 will also be on view, as will floral compositions by Barbara Regina Dietzsch (1706–1783) and her circle of the eighteenth century. “Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Depiction” will present 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.
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