M. C. Escher

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(CC) Photo: Kent Wang
The Escher Museum.

Maurits Cornelis Escher (17 June 1898 - 27 March 1972), popularly known as M.C. Escher, was a graphic artist of Dutch descent. Born in Leeuwarden to George and Sarah Escher, he was the youngest of five brothers (Arnold, Johan, Berend, Edmond, and Maurits).[1]

Body of work

M.C. Escher's early produced work was largely comprised of printmaking, often utilizing a relief process whereby a medium such as linoleum, or wood was carved with a specific shape or design, had ink applied, and printed onto paper or other surface. Examples of his early prints include Wild West[2], Eight Heads[3], and one of his father, G.A. Escher[4]. These early works show features that Escher would continue to use in later works (perspective, black & white contrast, pattern repetition, and outline).

One of the early instances of Escher's impossible realities was Still Life with Mirror[5]. In this image, a street scene is reflected in a mirror that only displays certain elements of the mirror's immediate surroundings, despite the apparent location the mirror. Careful examination will show that the candle is not reflected in the scene, leading the viewer to conclude that the mirror exhibits a false, imaginary reflection.

Similarly, Still Life and Street[6] also represents two different realities merged into one image. In this image a table top serves as a host to generic objects in the foreground, while visually blending the edges of the "deeper" books to the building structures within a city block. Additionally, as the viewer's eyes move from the lower half to the upper half of the image, what would normally be construed as the continuance of the environment(the table, or a wall) transforms into the city sky due to a lack of a visible horizon line; this is obscured by the curving of the "street", with buildings following suit.

Features of artwork

Escher's artwork is known for its use of optical illusion and investigation of geometric themes of tessellation, polyhedra, non-euclidean geometry, and perspective.[7] Much of it involves his exploration of the "Regular Division of the Plane" theory, which compelled him to produce the same-titled book in 1958 (Netherlandic: Regelmatige vlakverdeling).

Some of his prints follow euclidean, spherical, and hyperbolic geometries, occasionally modified to fit a sphere or hyperbolic plane.[8].

Regelmatige vlakverdeling

In 1958, M.C. Escher wrote a book describing his theory of the Regular Division of the Plane. It was published by the Stichting De Roos (De Roos Foundation) which was established in June of 1945 by Christiaan Leeflang, Charles Nypels, and G.M. van Wees[9]. The book was printed in quantity of 175 by Boosten & Stols (Maastricht).[10]

The Stichting De Roos (De Roos Foundation) a limited-membership organization of 175 members and a modern Dutch bibliophile society, was established in 1945 in Utrecht and is still active today. It was named after a "dean of modern Dutch book arts", S. H. de Roos (1877 - 1962)[11]


  1. O'Connor, J. J.; E. F. Robertson (May 2000). Maurits Cornelius Escher. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland.
  2. Wild West, 1920. Seymour and Iris Schwartz Collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  3. Eight Heads, 1922. Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  4. Escher's Father, G.A. Escher, 1916. Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  5. Still Life with Mirror, 1934. Seymour Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  6. Still Life and Street, 1937. Seymour Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  7. The Mathematical Art of M. C. Escher. Platonic Realms. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  8. Transformation of Hyperbolic Escher Patterns, D. Dunham. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  9. Hundred Highlights of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands). Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  10. The eGallery, Escher, M.C. (Maurits Cornelis Escher), updated 2003-11-04, (C)1990-2007 e.Lib. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  11. Vanderspyen, Karla. (2003) Netherlandic Treasures - Stichting "De Roos" (Modern Fine Printing). University of Michigan Special Collections Library, Scholarly Publishing Office. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.