|German banknotes 500 DM Deutsche Mark|
|500 Deutsche Mark Banknote|
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Obverse: Portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), painter, copper engraver and natural scientist. In the background, buildings from historical Nuremburg.
Reverse: A dandelion, with the caterpillar and butterfly of the Pale Tussock Moth.
Deutsche Mark was the official currency of West Germany (1948–1990) and Germany (1990–2002) until the adoption of the euro in 2002.
The fourth series of German mark banknotes was introduced in 1990 by the Bundesbank to counter advances in forgery technology. The notes depicted German artists and scientists together with symbols and tools of their trade. There were 5 Deutsche Mark, 10 Deutsche Mark, 20 Deutsche Mark, 50 Deutsche Mark, 100 Deutsche Mark, 200 Deutsche Mark, 500 Deutsche Mark and 1000 Deutsche Mark denominations.
Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717) was a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator, a descendent of the Frankfurt branch of the Swiss Merian family, founders of one of Europe's largest publishing houses in the 17th century.
Merian received her artistic training from her stepfather, Jacob Marrel, a student of the still life painter Georg Flegel. She remained in Frankfurt until 1670, relocating subsequently to Nuremberg, Wieuwerd (1685), where she stayed in a Labadist community till 1691, and Amsterdam.
Merian published her first book of natural illustrations, titled Neues Blumenbuch, in 1675 at age 28. In 1699, following eight years of painting and studying, and on the encouragement of Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck, the then-governor of the Dutch colony of Surinam, Merian was awarded a grant by the city of Amsterdam to travel to South America with her daughter Dorothea. After two years there, she was forced return to Europe as result of malaria. She then proceeded to publish her major work, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, in 1705, for which she became famous. Because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly, she is considered among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, the work of Merian was re-evaluated, validated, and reprinted. Her portrait was printed on the 500 DM note before Germany converted to the euro. Her portrait has also appeared on a 0.40 DM stamp, released on 17 September 1987, and many schools are named after her. In 2005, a modern research vessel named Maria S. Merian was launched at Warnemünde, Germany. She was honored with a Google Doodle on 2 April 2013 to mark her 366th birth anniversary.