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Tournai Cathedral

Maurits, Jetta and their two sons spent July and August of 1934 in the artists’ village of Saint-Idesbald. The village is home to several museums, including that of the world-famous surrealist painter Paul Delvaux. Escher had rented a house there, together with his brother Eddy and sister-in-law Irma. During that holiday, Escher and Jetta visited Ghent, Bruges and Tournai. That same holiday Escher created a woodcut of the cathedrals of Ghent and Tournai.

This holiday proved to be a precursor to a longer stay in Belgium. After two years in Switzerland the family would move to Uccle (Brussels) in the summer of 1937.


The Tournai cathedral dominates the skyline of the city in his woodcut. The distinctive five Roman towers loom above the surrounding buildings. The work proved to be of historic significance: in it the city, which was founded by the Romans, is still untouched. In May 1940 German bombardments would destroy many of the old buildings.
Tournai Cathedral (detail)
Tournai Cathedral (detail)

Tournai Cathedral (detail)
Tournai Cathedral (detail)

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