Maurits Cornelius Escher was born on June 17th, 1898 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. His father was a civil engineer. Escher’s great skill for art and drawing was realized at an early age. This led his father to decide to send him to study at the School of Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem. But, when he was 21 years old, Escher gave up architecture to study in the field of graphic arts.
Escher spent most of his life travelling in Europe looking for inspiration for his works. In 1921 he got married and stayed in Rome. This is when his works of art began to show landscapes with impossible perspectives.
In the 1930s, Fascism in Italy made life impossible for Escher and his family, so they moved to Switzerland. In 1936, Escher visited the Alhambra in Granada. The Moorish tiling he came across was amazing too him.
Escher read and understood Pólya’s paper on the 17 planes of symmetry, even though he didn't understand all of the ideas in the paper. Between 1936 and 1942 Escher concentrated on colored drawings using all of the different symmetry types. He invented a highly mathematical system of study using a process which he invented himself.
In 1941, Escher went home to the Netherlands. His popularity began to grow, and in the 1950s, articles on his work were written. His drawings of symmetry began to be displayed in science museums more than art galleries.
In his later years several books were published about him. One of these books described his works of art as he neared death.
“When Escher's view of the world turned inward he produced his best known puzzling prints, which, art aside, were truly intellectually playful, yet he was not. His life turned inward, he cut himself off and he had few friends. ... He died after a protracted illness...”
Escher died on March 27th, 1972, in the Netherlands.
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