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All Escher images are copyright Cordon Art B.V., Baarn, The Netherlands.
Maurits Cornelis Escher’s passion for the graphic arts started at the age of seven. The legendary man that we know now as one of the most famous graphic artists of the world didn’t follow through with his childhood dream until his mentor and friend, Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita reignited his passion. However, the biggest obstacle that stood between him and his passion was his father. We all know how that played out; as he went on to become one of the greats. What’s interesting is how M.C. Escher attained his place in people’s minds.
Back to the Beginning
M.C. Escher was born to George Arnold Escher, a civil engineer and Sara Gleichman in 1898 in in Leeuwarden, Friesland. Growing up in Arnhem, little Escher had a difficult time concentrating in school. His grades plummeted and he ended up failing the second grade. Even though he wasn’t a genius like Einstein, he excelled in one field—Drawing. His love for drawing intrigued his interest in studying carpentry and music at thirteen. When he turned twenty-one, his father forced his wishes on him, persuading him to study architecture.
The Start of a Legend
M.C. Escher didn’t dare disobey the wishes of his father, but reluctantly joined the school. His detachment to the world of architecture was evident, as he failed one class after another. During his time at the school, he met Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, a fellow graphic artist. He hadn’t given up on his first love completely, but used his spare time to draw and create linoleum cuts. One day, he decided to get a second opinion about his drawings, and that’s when he sought out Mesquita.
Mesquita was left impressed, encouraging him to drop out of the architectural program and switch to decorative arts. Before he could make the switch, he needed to break the news to his father, something he didn’t look forward to doing. His father took the news surprisingly well, which was good news for the millions who were yet to discover the art of M.C. Escher.
The Rise of the Graphic Artist
M.C. Escher perfected his art by mastering in drawing and creating woodcuts. After gaining an ample amount of experience, he wanted to discover Italy. In Italy, he found his muse, his wife Jetta Umiker whom he fell in love with and married in 1924. He spent eleven years in Italy, traveling extensively throughout the country, using the several sights he encountered as his inspiration to draw and sketch.
His portfolio included sketches of nature, landscapes, and insects, but it was in 1922, when his mind conjured up and elaborate image that he had to get down on paper. He drew eight human heads separated in different planes, which is recognized as his first artistic drawing. However, he went back to drawing landscapes in Italy.
It’s a good thing that he did that, as we wouldn’t have gotten one of his greatest pieces. In Italy, he stumbled on a street in Savona. That day, something about that street resonated with him and inspired him to draw it in an irregular perspective on woodcut. His completed piece was called Still Life and Street, which became instantly popular with the masses when they saw it printed.
His drawings stood out because he did not duplicate the landscape, but used it as guidance to come up with a never before seen reality. Everything in his drawings from the way the books rested, the view of the street, and the way the jar stood fascinated audiences that were left awestruck by his imagination and perception on reality.
A Legend is Born
After Still Life and Street, he drew similar pictures that shared the same concept as his first printed drawing. For instance, Drawing Hands shows two hands drawing each other, Sky and Water shows a peculiar image of how shadows of the fish and bird morphed on the ground, and Ascending and Descending, shows people moving up and down the stairs in a never-ending loop. Waterfall and Pineta of Calvi are two examples of his woodcut drawings while Puddle was created using lithograph.
M.C. Escher, a left-handed gifted artist like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Holbein, and Dürer, his predecessors before him, made an inerasable name for himself in the world of arts. His ability to play around with multistable perception and perspective gave him an edge over others, as with each drawing or sketch he produced received fame.
Art lovers consider his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints as masterpieces, studying and viewing them to get a closer understanding of what went in his mind when he drew the images. The mathematical relations among space, figures, and shapes that he depicted in most of his drawings shot his name to fame. Another area of art that he explored was interlocking objects or figures using a combination of black and white to enhance dimensions.
People can tell that they are viewing M.C. Escher’s work by spotting mirror images of rings, cubes, spirals, spheres, and cones, which were frequently found in his drawings. In total, he has made 137 drawings in the course of his life. He is one artist that taught people that reality could be captivating, phenomenal, and graspable.
Where Is He Now?
M.C. Escher is no longer with us, passing away in a retirement home specially built for artists on March 27, 1972 at the age of 73. What he left behind was his artwork that people to this day seek inspiration from. His drawings still enthrall the millions that view his drawings as their personal source of inspiration. With the advent of the internet, his drawings can be found spread across thousands of sites, praising his ability to draw pictures from an unusual perspective.
© opticalspy 2015