Plate 2

Mature Pineapple with Butterflies, 1705-1771

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By the end of the seventeenth century, growers had had limited success in cultivating the pineapple in hothouses near Leiden in the Netherlands, but it remained an expensive delicacy available only to a select few. In Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, Merian explained how to prepare it: "[It] must be peeled; the skin is as thick as a finger, if it is not peeled enough, sharp hairs remain on the flesh which prick one's tongue while eating and cause great pain." It tastes, she said, as "though one had mixed grapes, apricots, red currants, apples and pears and were able to taste them at once." The attractive butterfly shown in various stages of development is the Philaethria dido (Linnaeus).

Mature Pineapple with Butterflies
Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Nissen: 1342; Cat. Ger. Nat'l. Museum, 1967
Curator Approved

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Plate 2