A lot has changed in the world since the corona crisis. This is also the case at Escher in The Palace. After weeks of keeping our doors closed, we are finally open to the public again. However, this is different than usual. Our colleagues are happy to tell you about these new times in the museum and their own function in our Co-worker Monday.
Head of Education Monique Veldhoven
What exactly do you do at Escher in The Palace?
My name is Monique Veldhoven and I am the Head of Education at Escher in The Palace. Together with the curator and the museum educators, I am responsible for transferring knowledge in the broadest sense of the word. I develop appealing educational programmes for schools that align with their curriculum and I like to inspire regular visitors with a range of workshops, scavenger hunts and lectures affiliated with the curricula. I develop the teaching programmes at the permanent and temporary exhibitions for primary and secondary school students based on research. I am also the enthusiastic spokesperson for Escher in The Palace at schools and educational institutions.
What is your favourite work of art?
That is a difficult choice because there are so many wonderful prints by Escher, but my favourite artwork at the moment is Metamorphosis III (1967-1968). In this print, you see beautiful, playful transformations and the themes of eternity and infinity come together. These are themes that fascinated Escher throughout his life. It is an elongated print of up to 7 meters in which 2D plane fillings become 3D and geometric shapes come to life in birds, horses and fish. I also find the way it is exhibited in the museum very special. You can walk around it endlessly.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I prefer to work as close to the art as possible. I thoroughly enjoy myself every time I walk through the museum and see the artwork. I would like to share that passion by making the prints of M.C. Escher accessible to every student. For me, art education is enriching your view of the arts and the world around you. How can you look, what do you see, what do you think, could it be different? My motto is with everything: Create your own world. Art is not something far away, art connects you with yourself, with the other and with the world around you. Our museum lessons are not about how you should see the world or how you should experience the museum. Students have to do so much already. I prefer to invite them to wonder and marvel. Just like Escher did, accessible to every student. For me, art education is enriching accessible to every student. For me, art education is about enriching your view of the arts and the world around you. How you look at it, what you see, what you think, what could be different. My motto is always, ‘Create your own world’. Art is not something distant, but connects you with yourself, with others and with the world around you. Our museum lessons are not about how you should see the world or experience the museum; students have to do so much already. I prefer to invite them to wonder and marvel. Just like Escher did.
What are you currently working on?
I prefer to develop educational programmes with unexpected partners that can strengthen one another. The National Theatre (Het Nationale Theater) and Escher in The Palace, for instance, are currently working together on a new cross-curricular museum lesson for first and second-year secondary school students. We are working on a museum experience that incorporates philosophical conversation techniques and theatrical methods. Students engage in philosophical conversations with each other based on the works of Escher while carrying out assignments. It is inspiring to work together on this experiment. We look forward to the moment we can get back to work with the pilot classes for various schools in The Hague.
What makes Escher’s art so special?
Escher plays in his own special way in two different worlds, that of mathematics and that of the visual arts. He unites them in a unique manner that has never been done before. Escher claimed he did not understand much of mathematical formulas, that he created by doing, experimenting and not giving up.
And all of that without a computer, merely by hand.