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Temple at Segesta

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 little over a month, Escher made 23 drawings and took numerous photos.

The temple of Segesta was built around 430-420 BC, on a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta. On 17 May 1932, Escher spent several hours at the – never finished – Greek temple with Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. He enjoyed himself but he also looked for the best angle from which he could capture the Doric temple.

For his composition, Escher eventually arrived at a low three-point perspective in which the temple is looming over him. The receding columns and the pediment at the front form a strong angle with the sides. That same day, 17 May 1932, Escher created a drawing in chalk, using the same angle as in the photo. Notice the difference in the shadows falling on the temple, which come from a different angle. The photo was taken several hours before this drawing.


The photo he would use later for a wood engraving
Temple at Segeste, drawing

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