Tropical insects from Special Collections play a part in Metamorphosis
Documentary about Maria Sibylla Merian
Utrecht University Library has made a major contribution to the realization of the documentary Metamorphosis. This film by director Pim Zwier had its premiere during the Amsterdam IDFA festival on 11 November and is nominated for the Best Dutch Film Award.
From caterpillar to butterfly
A central place is taken up by the life and work of the Dutch-German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), who was at the basis of the entomology, the science of insects. Her major work focused on the metamorphosis of caterpillars to butterflies: she recorded the process in beautiful illustrations and engravings and was the first to draw insects together with the plants they live on.
Treasure from Special Collections
In the documentary three copies of her famous book Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium play a part. all housed in the collection of Utrecht University Library. In this book Merian writes about and makes magnificent illustrations of tropical insects in Surinam. Various pictures in the book have been filmed in a splendid way. In addition, Pim Zwiers puts 17th-century drawings, engravings and paintings subtly in motion, and actors Carly Wijs en Pierre Bokma bring historical sources to life. With the help of a macro lens, the director shows the pupation process of caterpillars he bred himself.
The result is a fascinating combination of nature documentary, costume drama and art project. The coming period the documentary will be shown in several art cinemas and possibly an interested station will broadcast the film on television.