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Italian snow, 1935

In early February 1935 Maurits and Jetta went to Abruzzo with the Mr and Mrs Leopold, a couple they had befriended. They travelled by bus from Rome to the medieval capital of the region: Aquila. It was not that far, about 75 miles. They then travelled on to Campo Imperatore, a plateau in the Gran Sasso National Park. This, the highest mountain range of the Apennines, is one of the oldest ski areas in Italy: skiing started here in the 1920s. Escher had been planning to move to Switzerland with his family for some time, because of the rise of fascism in Italy and also because his sons’ health would benefit from the Swiss mountain air. This visit to the ski area can be seen as a taster. But he does not seem all that keen yet. While Jetta is standing on the skis, he poses a little petulantly in the snow in a long woollen coat, a hat and black sunglasses. Glasses that he has specially purchased for this trip, as evidenced by an entry in the expense list in his meticulous diary: ‘Occhiali neri’ (black sunglasses): 12.00

Campo Imperatore, 8 February 1935
Escher's diary from 3-10 February 1935, mentioning the expenses for the trip
Page from his photo albums, covering the trip to Campo Imperatore

[*] Wim Hazeu, M.C. Escher, Een biografie (A biography), Meulenhoff, 1998, page 173

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