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Temple at Segesta

Escher first visited Sicily in the spring of 1932, together with his friend and painter Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. From Palermo they travelled to the coast, circled Mount Etna, went to Randazzo and visited the lava formations at Bronte. In little over a month he did 23 drawings and took numerous photos.

On a hill just outside the site of the ancient city of Segesta lies an unusually well-preserved Greek Doric temple. It is thought to have been built in the 420s BC. On 17 May 1932 Escher spends several hours at the site with Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. He is enjoying himself but he is also looking for the best angle from which he can capture the temple.
For his composition Escher eventually arrives 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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