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“The things I want to express are so beautiful and pure.” M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher – Early Years 0 Full name: Maurits Cornelis Escher 0 Birth date: June 17th, 1889 0 Birth town: Leeuwarden, the

Netherlands 0 Youngest son of five children 0 Moved to Arnhem at the age of five 0 1912 – 1918: Attended a public

high school in Arnhem

M. C. Escher – Middle Years 0 1918: Enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem with the

intention of preparing for a career as an architect. After only one week, Escher switched programs into graphic arts, under the instruction of de Mesquita. 0 After finishing school, he traveled extensively through Italy, where he met his wife Jetta

Umiker, whom he married in 1924. 0

Settled in Rome.

0 In 1926 his first son, George, was born. His second son, Arthur, was born in 1928.

M. C. Escher – Later Years 0 During the next 11 years, he

travelled throughout Italy and perfected his woodcut technique and learned the additional technique of wood engraving and lithography. 0 In 1938, his third son was born. 0 In 1941, Escher and his family

moved and settled in Baarn, Holland. 0 Escher died in Laren, where he

lived the last two years of his life, on March 27, 1972.

Escher Interview 0 M. C. Escher in his studio while he is making the Eye mezzotint

and being interviewed about his life and work.

M. C. Escher 0 Played with architecture, perspective and impossible

spaces. 0 He was a graphic artist who played with woodcuts,

wood engravings, lithography's, and beech wood spheres. 0 Illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps

and murals, among many other things.

Regular Division of the Plane 0

Congruent shapes in repeating patterns.

0 6 geometric regular divisions (fundamental forms of regular division of the plane):

• Parallelograms (Parallelogram) • Rectangles (Rechthoek) • Squares (Vierkant)

• Triangles (Driehoek) • 60o rhombuses (Ruit) • Regular hexagons (Zeshoek)

Regular Division of the Plane 0

4 geometric motions that preserve exact same shape (“isometry”): 0 0 0

Translation Rotation Glide-Reflection



Geometric Motions

First Pattern 0 Translation

Second Pattern 0 90o and 180o rotations

Third Pattern 0 90o and 180o rotations

Fourth Pattern 0 Translation and glide-reflection

Fifth Pattern 0 Translation, 90o rotation, glide-reflections

What transformations do you see?

Exploration with Regular Patterns in the Plane 0 Explored patterns with layers, overlapping motifs, moirĂŠ patterns, line

designs, and patterns of entwined circles. 0 Worked with regular division on three-dimensional surfaces, prints with

motifs of diminishing size, metamorphosis, form and contrast, dimension, tension between figure and ground, and the dynamic balance of opposites.

Diminishing Size Overlapping Carved Sphere

Entwined Circles

Work 0 Prints were born from a desire to give visual expression to

his thoughts.



Art ideas where from things he saw around him.


He drew broad concepts that one could observe, experience, and even feel, but which are impossible to capture fully in words. Work was used for ceiling art, book covers, tapestries, postal stamps and bank notes.

0 Most common use of Escher’s work by others is to provide

examples of regular division of the plane. They are studied and used by generations of students and their teachers. 0

“These patterns are complicated enough to illustrate clearly the basic concepts of translation and other symmetry, which are so often obscured in the clumsy arrays of little circles, pretending to be atoms, drawn on chalkboards.” MacGillavry

Famous Prints

Ascending and Descending – 1960 Lithograph

Relativity – 1953 Lithograph

Famous Prints

Metamorphosis I – Woodcut, 1937

Metamorphosis II – Woodcut, 1940

Metamorphosis III – Woodcut, 1967-68

Famous Prints

Sky and Water I – 1938

Reptiles – 1943 Lithograph

Famous Prints

Castrovalva – 1930 Lithograph

Facts and Quotes 0 0

During his lifetime, Escher made: 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings 0

Over 2000 drawings and sketches

“I believe that producing pictures, as I do, is almost solely a question of wanting so very much to do it well” M. C. Escher

“I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints” M. C. Escher

References Druick, D., Driver, E., & Naubert-Riser, C. (1975). The graphic work of M. C. Escher. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada for the National Museums of Canada. Locher, J. L. (1971). The world of M. C. Escher. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc. Schattschneider, D. (2004). M. C. Escher: Visions of symmetry. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc. Stewart, B. (1983). The magic worlds of M. C. Escher. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada for the Corporation of the National Museums of Canada. Vermeilen, J. (1989). Escher on Escher: Exploring the infinite. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc.

M. C. Escher  

The life and work of M. C. Escher