MC Escher

Born in Leeuwarden in Holland on 17th June 1898 MC Escher's full name is Maurits Cornelis Escher but he seems always to be referred to as

MC Escher (although his nicknamed was "Mauk".  MC Escher is best known for his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints with impossible

constructions, illusions of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.  He worked primarily in the media of lithographs and woodcuts, though the

few mezzotints MC Escher made are considered to be masterpieces.  Although MC Escher produced an amazing variety of work he is mostly

known for his “impossibles” where he would mix concave and convex perspectives in ways that could not exist in three dimensions.  Or Escher

might alter structures so that the beginning and end of a sequence join up producing a waterfall that runs forever.  People walking up and down

round the top of a building in eternal ascent or descent was also created by Escher's amazing imagination.  In "Reptiles" Escher combined two

and three-dimensional images. That's leaving aside the absurdity of Escher's 'Relativity' or 'House of Stairs' that are like something out of

Cthulu! In one of his papers, Escher emphasized the importance of dimensionality and described himself as "irritated" by flat shapes: "I make

them come out of the plane."  This was not mere frivolity on Escher's part though.  MC Escher saw a deep meaning in these impossible

scenarios and some were inspired by experiences in his own life or what had happened to people he knew.


MC Escher started drawing at secondary school in Arnhem but although his drawing was excellent his grades were often poor.  He was a sickly

child, and had attended a special school from the age of seven and failed the second grade.   Until he was thirteen years old MC Escher also

took carpentry and piano lessons .


In 1919, MC Escher went to the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts for three years where he briefly studied architecture. 

However, he again failed a number of subjects and switched to decorative arts. Here Escher studied under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita and

continued his interest in graphic design.  MC Escher remained friends with him for several years. In 1922 Escher left the school.  After

finishing his degree at the School he went to Italy and after a couple of years he settled down in Rome where he stayed for ten years although he

made many study trips to other countries during this time. Having gained experience in drawing and making woodcuts Escher then studied

under FW Van der Haagen and became far more interested in graphics, learning a variety of techniques including linocut where a piece of

linoleum is cut with a knife to make what is effectively a simple printing plate.  MC Escher's main mediums were ink and pencil but he also

used a variety of others including the linocut technique.  Escher also studied the mathematical concepts of topology and learned additional

concepts in mathematics from the British mathematician Roger Penrose that were behind such Escher masterpieces as 'Waterfall' and

'Ascending & Descending'.  One of his most notable works is the piece Metamorphosis II, which is wide enough to cover all the walls in a

room, and then loop back onto itself.


In 1934 he moved to Switzerland where he lived for a couple of years before moving to Brussels.  In 1954 Escher became a lecturer. A planned

Escher lecture tour in North America in 1962 was cancelled due to illness, but the materials produced by Escher later formed the basis of the

book 'Escher on Escher'.


Overall, his early love of Roman and Italian landscapes and of nature led to his interest in the concept of regular division of a plane, which he

applied in over 150 colored works. Other mathematical principles evidenced in his works include the superposition of a hyperbolic plane on a

fixed 2-dimensional plane, and the incorporation of three-dimensional objects such as spheres, columns and cubes into his works.  In 1958,

Escher published a book entitled Regular Division of the Plane, with reproductions of a series of woodcuts based on tessellations of the plane,

in which he described the systematic buildup of mathematical designs in MC Escher artworks. MC Escher always said, "Mathematicians have

opened the gate leading to an extensive domain."  In July 1969 MC Escher finished his last work, a woodcut called Snakes, in which snakes

wind through a pattern of linked rings which fade to infinity toward both the center and the edge of a circle.  


His work became very popular during the sixties and seventies, Escher art often being used by people without crediting him or paying royalties.

 Escher had a hard time in his later life trying to keep control of his work.  MC Escher spent the last part of his life in Baarn in Holland until his

death on 27 March 1972.  After his death MC Escher's fame spread further and he assumed a kind of cult status in graphic design.  MC Escher's

work, being bold black drawing for the most part has not really dated and an MC Escher impossible puzzle looks as fresh today as it did then.

The unusual Escher way of thinking and the rich graphic work of M.C. Escher has had a continuous influence in science and art, as well as

being referenced in popular culture. Ownership of the Escher intellectual property and art works have sadly become separated but Escher prints

and Escher posters etc are still available and can be bought here.  At Artists UK we have supplied MC Escher print and posters to collectors and

businesses for many years.  We once fitted out a whole suite of offices with framed Escher prints and posters.  The company was in engineering

and Escher fitted perfectly with the image. 


For provoking art then MC Escher's impossible art prints or posters are perfect - someone seeing Escher's endless 'Waterfall', Escher's bizarre

'Relativity' or Escher's two hands drawing each other is going to be drawn to comment. We have a large range of MC Escher prints and posters

as well as fine-art prints or there are MC Escher puzzles, MC Escher cards, MC Escher bookmarks and other Escher products for yourself or

to give someone else a slice of MC Escher mind-bending.  You can even wear MC Escher art!

MC Escher's work on the Web 

Waterfall by MC Escher

Relativity by MC Escher

Drawing Hands by MC Escher


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