M.C. Escher is one of the most famous
graphic artists and his art is enjoyed by millions of people. In his work he makes mathematical wood cuts,
lithographs, and mezzotints. Mezzotints are a prints made from an engraved
copper or steel plates that have been roughened to shade and scraped to make
light smooth areas. M.C. Escher has helped shape art today.
M.C. Escher was born on June 17, 1898 in
the Netherlands. He is the youngest of his five brothers and was raised by his
mother and father, Sarah Escher and George Escher. Escher was influenced by his
father’s civil engineering work but Escher struggled in mathematics. At the age of 13 his
family moved to Arnhem. Escher was held back in school twice because of grades.
He failed several of his final exams and never technically completed his high school
education. As he grew up he went to school at Haarlem’s School for Architectural and Decorative Arts. Maurice
Cornelius Escher abandoned architecture to pursue graphic arts instead. His
decision to follow graphic arts paid off.
and two of his friends left in April of 1922 for Italy. Both of them went back to Holland. After
a couple of weeks in Florence, Italy, and Escher went on to San Gimignano with
one of his friend’s sister. Escher did a lot of serious painting in San
Gimignano, Volterra, and Sienna. He spent all of April going around Italy and
painting landscapes. Escher finally returned to Holland in June but he wasn’t
happy, so he took his first opportunity to return to Southern Europe. He
returned to Southern Europe by taking a freighter with a bunch of his friends.
The freighter he rode took him to Spain. He went to many of the museums in
Madrid, also experiencing bull fights. He went to Toledo to draw missing his
express train he was supposed to take to Granada. In Granada he saw Arabic
decorative styles that he copied. He went from Spain to Italy by ship and
enjoyed his trip. He spent
his time on the ship drawing it and playing cards with the people on. He
travelled around Italy some more, and then settled for months in Siena. He loved the town so much that he called
the town blessed.
Escher traveled around Italy some more, and in August of 1923 he had his
first one man show. During this time in his life he had something else to
concentrate on though. He met a lady named Jetta Umiker. In the middle of August he proposed to her. On August 28
he went to Zurich to meet the family, they decided to marry and live in Italy. They bought a house under construction in
Rome in March 1925, and finally moved there in October. In June, 1926, Escher
and his wife bought a new, bigger house that was under construction to prepare
for a larger family. In late July he had a son named George Escher.
He had a bunch of shows now in Holland so he decided to visit his
parents. When he visited he started a detailed portrait of his father. August 1935, Escher and his family moved to Chateau-d’Oex,
Switzerland. Living in
Switzerland was expensive and Jetta missed the living in Italy because she lost
a lot of her social life. Even though it was expensive Escher finished several
woodcuts and a lithograph.
As the fall passed into winter Escher’s family grew accustomed to their
new home in Switzerland. Jetta took up her hobby of piano again, and Escher
joined the local chess club. M.C. Escher’s children enjoyed playing in the snow. In December of that year Escher made a
lithograph of a farmer’s shed on a hillside that was covered in snow, but he was disappointed with the way the
result turned out. His son George later started to missed the warmth of Italy.
In early 1936, Escher wanted to take a trip back to southern Europe. He
made a deal with the shipping company to make prints of the company’s ship for
free passage on the company’s vessels they had. They replied to his letter, and they
accepted his offer for free passage for prints of ships. In April he rode on one of the ships to
the place called Trieste. Escher’s trip took him too many places like Venice, Ancona, Bari, and
Escher’s wife, joined him on his journey in the middle of May.
On his trip he made around nine different prints that almost all were woodcuts. This trip was going to be the last
extended trip through Italy.
The War effected Escher in a personal way. One of his old teachers was Jewish
and was taken by the Nazis and killed. Escher helped transfer his teachers work
from the Museum in Amsterdam when he died. Escher organized a memorial show for
his teacher at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
At the end of the war Escher participated in a show for p