In the legend of Ys, a mythical Breton city that 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 legend inspired French composer Claude Debussy in 1910 to write the Prélude La Cathédrale Engloutie. In January 1929 Escher produced a woodcut with the same title.
In the baptism photo of Escher’s son Arthur, freshly printed versions of the woodcut are visible in the background.