M. C. Escher images and biography
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M. C. Escher


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"After Escher had said goodbye to the south [in 1936], his work took a direction that was eventually to lead to his becoming famous. From now on he was no longer concerned with expressing his observations - or only rarely - but rather with the construction of the images in his own mind. These images dealt with the regular division of the plane, limitless space, rings and spirals in space, mirror images, inversion, polyhedrons, relativities, the conflict between the flat and the spatial, and impossible constructions. Even in his Haarlem period, and occasionally during his years in Italy, he had made hesitant moves in this direction, but only now did they take shape systematically and start to absorb him. He had the feeling that until then he had merely been doing finger exercises.

"The laws that were to fascinate Escher most until his death were those of the regular division of the plane. He had experimented with them already in Haarlem. It was then, in October 1922, that he had visited the Alhambra for the first time. 'The fitting together of congruent figures whose shapes evoke in the observer an association with an object or a living creature intrigued me increasingly after that first Spanish visit in 1922,' Escher wrote in 1941, in an article in De Delver, an art periodical. 'And although at the time I was mainly interested in free graphic art, I periodically returned to the mental gymnastics of my puzzles. In about 1924 1 first printed a piece of fabric with a wood block of a single animal motif which is repeated according to a particular system, always bearing in mind the principle that there may not be any "empty spaces".. . . I exhibited this piece of printed fabric together with my other work, but it was not successful. This is partly the reason why it was not until 1936, after I had visited the Alhambra a second time, that I spent a large part of my time puzzling with animal shapes.'

"Escher's development in this direction after 1936 can be attributed not only to this second visit to the Alhambra, but also to his departure from Italy. In 1959 he wrote about this (in the introduction to The Graphic Work): 'In Switzerland, Belgium and Holland where I successively established myself, I found the outward appearance of landscape and architecture less striking than those which are particularly to be seen in the southern part of Italy. Thus I felt compelled to withdraw from the more or less direct and true to life illustrating of my surroundings. No doubt this circumstance was in a high degree responsible for bringing my inner visions into being.' In the same introduction, Escher wrote about his prints dating from after 1936 that they were created 'with a view to communicating a specific line of thought. The ideas that are basic to them often bear witness to my amazement and wonder at the laws of nature which operate in the world around us. He who wonders discovers that this is in itself a wonder. By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analyzing the observations that I had made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. Although I am absolutely without training or knowledge in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow-artists.'"

- From "M.C. Escher, His Life and Complete Graphic Work"

Further reading on M. C. Escher:

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M.C. Escher Images

1930 Castrovalva (Abruzzi)
1934 Still Life with Mirror
1935 Hell
1938 Day and Night
1938 Sky and Water II
c. 1942 Fish
1943 Reptiles
1945 Diploma Tijdelijke Academie
1946 Eye
1947 Up and Down
1948 Drawing Hands
1948 Sun and Moon
1952 Puddle
1953 Relativity
1955 Three Worlds
1956 Bond of Union
1956 Print Gallery
1958 Belvedere
1960 Ascending and Descending
1961 Waterfall
1963 Moebius Strip II (Red Ants)

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