On 22 April 1932 Maurits Escher leaves for Italy, together with his friend and painter Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. Their first stop: Sicily. In the square in front of the church in Gangi a couple of street urchins ask them if they would like to see some dead priests.
A large key was produced and, surrounded by a gang of shouting boys, Maurits and Giuseppe descend into the crypt. Almost all the walls are pockmarked by rows of niches containing mummies*. Escher took some photos and created this lithograph as soon as he got back home.
[*] M.C. Escher, His Life and Complete Graphic Work, edited by J.L. Locher, Abradale Press, 1982, page 36