Maria Sibylla Merian

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Maria Sibylla Merian
Heron Encircled by a Snake, with a Worm in his Bill
Waterccolor and white opaque watercolor, with selectively applied gum arabic, on vellum.
14 7/8 x 12 1/16 inches (377 x 307 mm)
Purchased as the gift of Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Jr. in memory of Landon K. Thorne, Jr.

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Inscribed at lower right, in pale brown ink, "Dieses Vogel heist auf Indianisch / Coximoyanex er isset Würme, Schlangen s.s. / Die Schlange die um ihn gewunden ist, wird / Rattenfanger genant". A nearly identical inscription appears on the verso, at lower right, in brown ink, "Dieses Vogel heist auf / Indianisch Coximoyanex / er ist Würme, / Schlange, / die Schlange die um ihn ge: / wunden ist, wird Ratten fanger genant / daru. das sie Ratten verschluckt".

Acquired at sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 18 November 1980, lot 67, repr.

Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Nineteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978-1980. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, p. 204.
Jane Shoaf Turner, with contributions by Felice Stampfle, Dutch Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries, New York, 2006, cat. no. 153.


The inscription on the recto and verso explains that the "worm-eating bird is named Coximoyanex by the Indians" and that the "snake encircling him is called a rat-catcher."

Associated names: 

Thorne, Landon K., Jr., Mrs., donor.

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