About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, June 30, 2008

Maria Sibylla Merian - renaissance woman 1647-1717

Just back from an exhibition of Maria Sibylla Merian's paintings and notebooks, presented at The Getty. Merian was born in Germany in 1647, and lived a quiet 70 years. She was one of the great women of science and art, who surpassed her peers, but was forgotten -- was and is actively obliterated -- by the publishing charade which pretends to be "history".
SCIENCE. Merian studied the natural world, completely changing our views of our own gardens as well as introducing specimens of tropical flora and fauna from Surinam to Europe. She was perhaps the first serious Entomologist, making meticulous observations illustrated with accurate images. She studied insects, in a period when many bugs were considered Satanic, and no one else was bothering.
ART. Merian's favorite subjects were the caterpillars. Her accurate images of their complete life cycle transformations are stunning for their scale, dimensionality, shadowing and color. These are portraits of kings and queens, who happen to be worms.
The Exhibition traces her life and art, and notes her contributions to science in the most understated manner possible. If any one of these paintings had been found in the notebooks of a man, historians would have credited the author with having anticipated the theory of evolution.
When I taught History of Science, I actually challenged students with what I thought was an observation of fact: Why are there so few great women of science and art? Now it seems so clear to me. What I was observing was their supression, not their absence.