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M. C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist, most recognized for spatial illusions, impossible buildings, repeating geometric patterns (tessellations), and his incredible techniques in woodcutting and lithography. M. C. Escher was born June 1898 and died March 1972.
His work continues to fascinate both young and old across a broad spectrum of interests. M. C. Escher was a man studied and greatly appreciated by respected mathematicians, scientists and crystallographers yet he had no formal training in math or science. He was a humble man who considered himself neither an artist or mathematician. Intricate repeating patterns, mathematically complex structures, spatial perspectives all require a "second look." In Escher's work what you see the first time is most certainly not all there is to see.
We at the World of Escher are proud to be here to tell you stories, discuss M. C. Escher's works, provide insight, and offer our high quality products promoting the intriguing work of Escher. If you already know of Escher and his work you " ll have a great time just looking around, otherwise it's time to get ready to explore a world as fascinating as the Internet; The World of Escher! Along with discussions on Escher we have also included ideas and readings regarding Professor Roger Penrose and his mathematically based puzzles.
Maurits Cornelis Escher, born in Leeuwarden, 17 june 1898, received his first instruction in drawing at the secondary school in Arnhem, by F. W. van der Happen, who helped him to develop his graphic aptitude by teaching in the technique of the linoleum cut. From 1919 to 1922 he studied at the School of Architecture and Ornamental Design in Haarlem, where he was instructed in the graphic techniques by S. Jessurun de Mesquita, whose strong personality greatly influenced escher's further development, as graphic artist. In 1922 he went to Italy and 1924 settled in Rome.
During his 10 year stay in Italy he made many study-tours, visiting Abruzzi a, the Amalfi coast, Calabria, Sicily, Corsica and Spain. In 1934 he left Italy, spent two years in Switzerland and five years in Brussels before settling in Board (Holland) in 1941, where he died on march 27, 1972, at the age of 73 years. In 1913, M. C. Escher met his lifelong friend Bas Kist in religious school (which he attended at his parent's direction, even though he wasn't very religious). Kist was also interested in printing techniques, and may have encouraged M.
C. to make his first linoleum cut works. Amoung these early works is a portrait of his father which is the oldest surviving work by the artist. In 1917, the two friends visited the artist Gert Stegeman, who had a printing press in his studio.
Some of M. C. 's work from this year were apparently printed at Stegeman's. Also, in 1917, the Escher family moved to Oosterbeek, Holland. During this year and the following few years, M. C. Escher and his friends became very involved in literature, and M.
C. began to write some of his own poems and essays. In 1918, Escher began private lessons and studies in architecture at the Higher Technology School in Delft. He managed to get a deferment on military service in order to study, but poor health prevented him from keeping up with the curriculum. He was rejected for enlistment in the military service in 1919, and as a result could not continue school (he had never successfully graduated from high school! ). During this difficult period, Escher did many drawings, and also began using woodcuts as a medium.
It was also at this time that his work began to receive favorable reviews in the media. Still trying to pursue a career in architecture, M. C. Escher next moved to Haarlem and began studies as the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts.
After on a week in the city, he met the artist Jessurun de Mesquita. After seeing Escher's drawings, Mesquita and the school's director advised him to continue with them. He began full-time study of "the graphic and decorative arts" in the fall of 1919. Also at this time, he acquired a white cat as a present from his land-lady. In 1921, Escher and his parents visited the Riviera and Italy.
Unimpressed by the tropical flowers of the mediterranean climes, he made detailed drawings of cacti and olive trees. He also sought out high places and dramatic vistas to sketch, some of his later works were influenced by these sights. Escher started to experiment with themes that would suffuse his later works around this time. The woodcuts he did for a humorous booklet Easter Flowers exhibit several: mirror images, crystal shapes, and spheres. The first print by M. C.
Escher to sell in large numbers was St. Francis (Preaching to the Birds), a woodcut that Escher claimed to have "worked on like a madman. " He finished out the year doing some sign work and a few commissioned prints. In 1922, in search of fresh inspiration, he decided to go to Italy. Italy and Spain M. C. Escher and two friends left Arnhem for Italy in April of 1922.
On his leaving, his mother had these words of parting for her artistic son: "Son, don't smoke too much. " The two friends returned to Holland after only a couple of weeks in Florence, and Escher went on to San Gimignano with a sister of one of them. He did a great deal of serious drawing here and in the next few towns he visited: Volterra and Siena. He spent all of the spring of 1922 roaming the Italian countryside, drawing landscapes, plants, and even insects. In Assist he met a fellow Dutchman, the painter Gerretsen.
The two met occassionally over the next few years. Returning home in June, Escher found that he could not be happy and productive in his old environs. He seized his first opportunity to return to southern Europe, taking a freighter to Spain with some friends, and saving expenses by caring for their two small children on the trip. It was on this trip that he first saw the phenomenon of a phosphorescent sea, so beautifully expressed later in his woodcut of the same name.
In Spain, he saw his first bullfight: an "off-putting and barbaric" event. He visited Madrid and its famous museum, the Prado, but was unimpressed by many of the paintings there. Surprisingly, he also attended another bullfight. He dodged large rats to find a place to draw in Toledo. Missing an express train, he spent 24 hours on a local train to get to Granada.
In Granada, Escher visited the Alhambra, and saw examples of Moorish (Arabic) decorative styles. He studied these, and copied one. Escher traveled from Spain to Italy by ship, and enjoyed the voyage immensely, splitting his time between drawing the ship and playing cards with her officers. After traveling around Italy, he settled in Siena for several months.
During this time he worked very hard and enjoyed himself immensely, calling the town and atmosphere "blessed. " March of 1923 found Escher still working hard and traveling around Italy. At the end of the month, a Swiss family took up residence at the pension where Escher was staying. Over the next few months, Escher found himself drawn to the daughter of the family, Jetta Umiker. Letters to his friend Jan state that he found her arms especially attractive. In a more serious vein, Escher realized he was falling in love with Jetta Umiker, but was uncertain of his own ability to maintain a relationship. When the Umiker's left for Switzerland in June, Escher expressed his feelings at the last moment, and a bond was formed.
Escher traveled around Italy some more, and in August of 1923 held his first one-man show in Siena. He paid very little attention to this important milestone in his artistic career, he was concentrating on Jetta. In mid-August he proposed to her, and on August 28 arrived in Zurich to formally meet the family. They decided to marry and live in Italy. 1924 was a very busy year for M. C. Escher.
He held his first one-man show in his native Holland in February. On June 12, he married Jetta in Viareggio, Italy. The newlyweds visited Genoa, Annecy, and Brussels. In October they went to France, and then went back to Italy.
During all these travels, Escher had the chance to observe a great many architectural forms. At the end of 1924, Escher and his new bride purchased a house under construction in Frascati, a small town outside of Rome. The house was finished in March, 1925, but the couple did not move in until October. Shortly after Escher moved into his new home outside of Rome, his brother was killed in a mountaineering accident, and Escher had to go to the site to identify the body.
After this tragedy, Escher produced his famous Days of Creation woodcuts. In June of 1926, the Escher's bought a new, larger house under construction in anticipation of an addition to their family. In late July, George Escher was born. It is a measure of Escher's growing fame that both King Emmanuel and Mussolini attended the boy's christening.
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