Escher todayHere we tap into dates from M.C. Eschers life and work, jumping through time but always in the now. All year round you can enjoy background stories, anecdotes and trivia about this fascinating artist.
In February 1950 Escher produced Contrast (Order and Chaos). Occupying centre stage in this print is a perfectly symmetrical spatial figure: an almost transparent stellated dodecahedron that has been merged with a glass sphere.
In the 1920s and 1930s Escher made several long trips to Italy in search of inspiration for his work. Together with artists he befriended, he visited untouched parts of the country in spring and in summer and made drawings there. In the following winter he developed a selection of these into prints. In February 1931 he produced this lithograph of Santa Severina.
‘I am thinking about a very attractive commission which the Post Office might offer me.’
Escher writes these words to his eldest son George in Canada in June 1967. The question was whether he could expand his four-metre long Metamorphosis II (1939-1940) by another three metres. For the new post office in The Hague this new seven-metre-long Metamorphosis III would be expanded to 48 metres and painted on linen.
In March 1923 Escher meets the Swiss family Umiker in Ravello, Italy. He falls in love with their youngest daughter Jetta. Maurits is fascinated by this mysterious girl, with whom he speaks in broken Italian. They get married in Viareggio on 12 June 1924.
Escher visited Sicily for the first time in the spring of 1932, together with his friend and painter Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. From Palermo they travelled to the coast, circled Mount Etna, to Randazzo and visited the lava formations at Bronte. In just over a month, Escher made 23 drawings and took numerous photos.
In the legend of Ys, a mythical Breton city which lies below sea level is submerged by water when the daughter of the king, blinded by love, opens the gates for her lover. According to the legend the outlines of the cathedral occasionally rise from the mist while the tower bells seem to toll.
The Escher archive in Kunstmuseum The Hague includes a little storybook that was published in 1898 – the year Escher was born. Escher often read stories to his three sons from the book.
His eldest son George had vivid memories of
"feverish nights, lying in bed as a child, while my father read to me by the light of a half-veiled lamp in an attempt to lull me to sleep."
George mentions in particular the story of ‘The Lost Princess’ which provided the inspiration for the print Castle in the Air, from January 1928. Former curator Mickey Piller explores the origins of this remarkable woodcut.