SUMMARY: M. C. Escher (June 18, 1898 – March 27, 1972) Dutch artist, famous for his tessellations.
Escher was born June 17, 1898, in the Netherlands. M.C. Escher was known for being a graphic artist. His art was mathematically inspired and consisted of woodcuts and lithographs. His full name is Maurits Cornelis Escher, and he was the youngest child of a civil engineer George Arnold Escher. From 1903 to 1918 he attended school. He had bad grades and had to repeat some classes twice. In 1919 Escher attend the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts.
When Escher left school he had experience in architecture, drawing and woodcuts. In 1921 Escher traveled throughout Italy. In 1924 he married Jetta Umiker. The couple moved to Rome and settled there until 1935, until politics and Mussolini became unbearable. For the next two years they lived in Switzerland. Escher was very fond of the Italian countryside and he was eager to go back to Italy, but they moved to Belgium instead. By January 1941, WWII forced them to relocate again; the couple then moved to Baarn, Netherlands, and that is where they lived until 1970.
Escher created many interesting works of art. He used mathematics in his pieces of art although he was not well-trained in the subject. He used black and white to create dimension. He used cubes, cones, spheres and spirals. Escher’s art work was especially liked by mathematicians and scientists. His mathematical influence came from a trip he took in the Mediterranean; he said it was the richest source of inspiration he ever tapped.
In 1941, Escher wrote a paper called Regular Division of the Plane with Asymmetric Congruent Polygons. The paper was about his approach to using math in his art work. After he wrote this paper he was considered a research mathematician. He studied color-based division. He also created a system of categorizing shape, color, and symmetrical properties. Escher’s work in mathematics awarded him with Knighthood of the Orange Nassau in 1955.
In 1956, Escher came up with a way to represent infinity by using circles on a two dimensional plane. After this he expressed it in a piece of work called Circle Limit 1. He then created Circle Limit 2, 3and 4. These works expressed how he was able to create perfectly consistent mathematical designs.
In 1958 he published another paper called Regular Division of a Plane. In this paper he describes systematic build up of mathematical design in his art work. He also worked on a series of pictures that he is most famous for, called Metamorphosis. In these pictures he would draw something that morphed into something else.
In 1962 Escher’s work was published in a book called “Escher on Escher”. It included illustrations and information about his ideas and inspirations for his art work . In July 1969 Escher worked on his last piece of art before he died. Many well-known museums feature Escher’s art work. Some of these museums include the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., The Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, and The Escher Museum at the Hague. There are even a large number of private collectors.
M.C. Escher is important because he contributed to the world of mathematical art. In his lifetime he created more then 150 pieces of art. All of his artwork was original and very imaginative. He wanted to emphasize shape and depth in his work; he didn’t like flat shapes. Now Escher is the topic of many lectures. He was a brilliant thinker for his time.