by MC Escher
I give form to in daylight is only one per cent
of what I have seen in darkness."
Quoted in D MacHale, Comic Sections (Dublin 1993)
"By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround
us, and by considering and analysing the observations
that I have made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics,
Although I am absolutely without training in the
exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common
with mathematicians than with my fellow artists."
Quoted in E Maor, To infinity and beyond (Princeton
"The laws of mathematics are not merely human
inventions or creations. They simply 'are'; they
exist quite independently of the human intellect.
The most that any(one) ... can do is to find that
they are there and to take cognizance of them."
Maurits Cornelis Escher is
one of the world's most famous graphic artists.
He is most famous for his so-called impossible structures,
such as Ascending and Descending, Relativity, his
Transformation Prints, such as Metamorphosis I,
Metamorphosis II and Metamorphosis III, Sky &
Water I or Reptiles.
But he also made some wonderful, more realistic
work during the time he lived and traveled in Italy.
Castrovalva for example, where one already can see
Escher's fascination for high and low, close by
and far away. The lithograph Atrani, a small town
on the Amalfi Coast was made in 1931, but comes
back for example, in his masterpiece Metamorphosis
I and II.
Escher, during his lifetime, made 448 lithographs,
woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings
and sketches. Like some of his famous predecessors,
- Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and
Holbein-, M.C. Escher was left-handed.
Apart from being a graphic artist, M.C. Escher illustrated
books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals.
He was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, as the
fourth and youngest son of a civil engineer. After
5 years the family moved to Arnhem where Escher
spent most of his youth. After failing his high
school exams, Maurits ultimately was enrolled in
the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts
After only one week, he informed his father that
he would rather study graphic art instead of architecture,
as he had shown his drawings and linoleum cuts to
his graphic teacher Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita,
who encouraged him to continue with graphic arts.
After finishing school, he traveled extensively
through Italy, where he met his wife Jetta Umiker,
whom he married in 1924. They settled in Rome, where
they stayed until 1935. During these 11 years, Escher
would travel each year throughout Italy, drawing
and sketching for the various prints he would make
when he returned home.
of these sketches he would later use for various
other lithographs and/or woodcuts and wood engravings,
for example the background in the lithograph Waterfall
stems from his Italian period, or the trees reflecting
in the woodcut Puddle, which are the same trees
Escher used in his woodcut "Pineta of Calvi",
which he made in 1932.
M.C. Escher became fascinated by the regular Division
of the Plane, when he first visited the Alhambra,
a fourteen century Moorish castle in Granada, Spain
in 1922. During the years in Switzerland and throughout
the Second World War, he vigorously pursued his
hobby, by drawing 62 of the total of 137 Regular
Division Drawings he would make in his lifetime.
He would extend his passion for the Regular Division
of the Plane, by using some of his drawings as the
basis for yet another hobby, carving beech wood
He played with architecture, perspective and impossible
from mcescher.com, official mc escher site.