M. C. Escher

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Maurits Cornelis Escher also known as M. C. Escher was a prominent twentieth century Dutch graphic artist. He used to do lithography, a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility. Besides, he also applied Mezzotint in printmaking and carved mathematically inspired woodcuts. The mathematical dimension of his work rendered it popular not just among artists but mathematicians and scientists too. His works has been featured on a variety of technical papers and as well as on the covers of many books and albums.

Born on June 17, 1989, Escher grew up in Leeuwarden, Friesland. His father was a civil engineer who had him with his second wife. Fourteen years after his birth the family moved to Arnhem. There he received his primary and secondary education. As a child Escher failed to cope with studies due to poor health. However, he developed excellent drawing skills during those years. He used to take lesions in piano and carpentry until his preteens. He attended the Technical College of Delft in 1918. Later he went to Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts to study arts. At first he made an attempt to study architecture but his persistent skin infection prevented him from clearing a few subject. Hence, he switched to decorative arts.

In 1922, Escher set out on a journey across Europe exploring Siena, Florence, Spain, Volterra, Italy, Ravello and San Gimignano. He was taken with the beauty of Italian countryside, while Granada offered Moorish countryside. The intricate geometrical symmetrical designs featured in Alhambra developed his interest in the mathematics of tessellation. As a result, he returned to Italy and stayed in Rome for the span of twelve years. While exploring the world of art he met Jetta Umiker, whom he married after a year of his arrival in Rome. Moreover, he traveled widely during that period, visiting Viterbo, Abruzzi, Corsica, Calabria and Almafi. Escher’s body of work is filled with the landscapes that he had seen during his journey.

Escher traveled to Spain again in 1936, to revisit the Alhambra. He spent several days meticulously drawing its mosaic pattern. His keen interest in tessellation soon turned into obsession. The primary source of his work became the sketches he drew in Alhambra. The Moorish mosque of Cordoba, Mezquita, was another one of the institutions where he studied architecture. It became the final stop in his studious and work-related journeys. He then carried out his work in studio instead of field. There was a drastic change in the form and style of his artwork. Formerly, his work focused on observational details mainly which was now replaced with keen eye to the realistic details that had been observed in nature and architecture. His earlier worked also featured multiple perspectives, the unusual and the nature of space.

As the political climate of Italy turned extreme, Escher was forced to move to Château-d’Œx, Switzerland. He was a non-political artistic who had no interest in voicing any political ideals but his own concepts and thoughts through the medium of art. He designed a semi-postal stamp for the “Air Fund” after being commissioned by the Netherlands post office. After two years in Switzerland, he relocated to a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. The outbreak of the Second World War forced his family to settle in Baarn, Netherlands until 1970. Some of his most celebrated works belonged to his time in Netherlands.

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