Monika Hennig

Metamorphosis tells the story of Maria Sibylla Merian, a highly entrepreneurial and adventurous German artist/entomologist (1647-1717). On his deathbed, famous artist/publisher Matthäus Merian prophesies that his three-year-old daughter Maria will grow up to be a great artist. “Someday, people will say, ‘This is Merian’s daughter.’” Her artistic talent and love of nature are nurtured in her step-father’s workshop, where she is taught painting and copper engraving. When she brings home silkworms from a local merchant, a miracle of transformation unfolds before her eyes. No book, no painting, has ever shown these wonders. The obsession that is to steer the course of her life has begun. Observing and painting the metamorphosis of insects is the driving passion that leads her through a tumultuous marriage ending in divorce, a six-year sojourn in a religious community, a move to the dizzyingly powerful and wealthy city of Amsterdam, and finally, a perilous voyage to Surinam at the age of 52. Metamorphosis is currently being re-written for production. The story centers around Maria Sibylla’s journey to Surinam, her various interactions with the native Indian, slave and colonial population, and her tireless documentation of plants and animals.


Writer: Monika Hennig