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Cloister of Monreale

Escher visited Sicily while it was still untouched. In the spring of 1932 he made his first trip to the island, together with his friend and painter Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. The number of places they visited was impressive: the capital Palermo; Corleone; Cefalù, with its famous cathedral; Tindari; Milazzo; the island of Lipari; the beautifully situated town of Taormina; the Etna region; Giarre, with its traces of the volcanic eruption in 1928; Randazzo, with its houses built of dark-coloured lava; Bronte; Cesarò; Roina; Cerami; Nicosia, Sperlinga; Enna; Gangi; Petralia Sottana; Sclafani; Segesta, with its Greek temple; Caltavuturo, the cloister at Monreale and, again, Palermo.* During his trip, Escher produced 23 sketches which he turned into 12 prints in the winter of 1932-1933. Together they give a good impression of the visit to the island that had made such a big impression on him and Haas-Triverio.

One of the places they visited is the cloister at the cathedral of Monreale. It is considered as one of the most beautiful in Italy. In March 1933 Escher created a wood engraving based on this visit.

[*] Wim Hazeu, M.C. Escher, Een biografie, Meulenhoff, 1998, page 151

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