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Who is M.C. Escher?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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M.C. Escher, whose complete name is Maurits Cornelis Escher was a Dutch artist who was born in Leeuwarden on 17 June 1898. His parents — George Arnold Escher, a civil engineer, and Sara Gleichman — had their son educated in the fields of carpentry and music. As a boy, Escher showed artistic talent but made poor marks in school. After primary and secondary school, he studied architecture for a short time before moving on to study decorative arts. During this part of his education, Escher learned to create woodcuts and made more progress with his drawing.

In 1922, M.C. Escher spent time traveling through Spain and Italy. These travels were important to the artist. In addition to being inspired by the architecture and landscapes that he experiences during this time, he also met the woman who he was to marry. Jetta Umiker. The couple moved a number of times within Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium during the early years of their marriage. In 1941, they were forced to move once again due to World War II. This time, they moved to the Netherlands and remained there for nearly thirty years.

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Escher is best know for his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. His work often showcases architecturally impossible structures, tessellations, metamorphosis, and experiments with infinity. Some of his best-known works are Still Life With Spherical Mirror (1934), Hand with Reflecting Sphere (1935), Magic Mirror (1946), Drawing Hands (1948), and Relativity (1953). During the course of his career, he was awarded a Knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau. At the age of 73, M.C. Escher passed away on 27 March 1972.

During the course of his life, M.C. Escher developed quite a following. In fact, there continue to be many Escher fans throughout the world today. His works, which question human perception and inspire thoughts of alternative realities are reproduced and sold in the media of posters, coffee cups, ties, puzzles, and even sculptures. The Escher Museum, dedicated to the Dutch artist, was opened up in The Hague, Netherlands n 16 November 2002. However, there are many other museums that are home to M.C. Escher works. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa are two public museums that own original Eschers. The work of M.C. Escher is also part of some of the most prestigious private collections in the world.

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