Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Metamorphosis: The Secret Garden + Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters at The Getty Center

The Getty's big summer show illustrates how observing nature can transform a person. At the age of 13, Maria Sibylla Merian was one of the first to document the full metamorphosis of a silkworm. Her journey as a keen observer of the natural world led her to shed a traditional 17th century life and soar as an artist and scientist. Our family has always loved The Secret Garden, a touching adaptation of the classic novel, and we watched it with renewed interest after visiting Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women of Art and Science, on view through the summer at The Getty Center. We were able to see the insect specimens that Merian and her two talented daughters used as models for their lustrous drawings, artwork which was collected by Russian Czars and set standards for botanical illustration. Inspired, we took a quick jaunt around the Getty's gardens before the kids settled down with colored pencils to create their own illustrations from blooms and bugs discovered atop the Brentwood hill. Visiting these rare drawings, and spending some blissful unplugged time with our kids, was a perfect kick off to a nature-oriented summer. (Click here for Culture Crawl LA, a joint effort between five LA institutions designed to teach kids about bugs this summer).

Visit our website here for the Full Adventure, valuable "tips for before you go", science and cinema savvy conversation starters, kid red flags (so helpful), interesting facts about Maria Sibylla Merian and much more. Then stop back afterwards to add, and maybe even listen a little, to the ongoing conversation of how digital media is affecting our kids today.