Unthinkable structures: The architect of perfectly impossible worlds
M.C. Escher (1898 1972) was born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. He received his first drawing lessons during secondary school from F.W. van der Haagen, who also taught him the block printing, thus fostering Escher s innate graphic talents.From 1912 to 1922 he studied at the School of Architecture and Ornamental Design in Haarlem, where he was instructed in graphic techniques by S. Jessurun de Mesquita, who greatly influenced Escher s further artistic development. Between 1922 and 1934 the artist lived and worked in Italy.
Afterwards Escher spent two years in Switzerland and five in Brussels before finally moving back to Barn in Holland, where he died in 1972.M.C. Escher is not a surrealist drawing us into his dream world, but an architect of perfectly impossible worlds who presents the structurally unthinkable as though it were a law of nature. The resulting dimensional and perspectival illusions bring us into confrontation with the limitations of our sensory perception.
About the series:
Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Art series features:
a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance
a concise biography
approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions"
About the Illustrator
M. C. Escher (Dutch 1898-1972) made relatively realistic art--landscapes, portraits--until his early middle age. Then, increasingly fascinated by the tension between two-dimensional representation and the mind's tenacious three-dimensional perception, he began to create prints and drawings in which realism collides with impossibility.
Working alone, with no mathematics background, he produced "symmetry drawings" that graphically represented the phenomena of crystallography and foretold the concept of a fractal universe. He challenged the hegemony of so-called natural laws with renderings of courtyards where up and down lose their meaning; of structures that flout gravity and perspective, of abstract patterns that gradually metamorphose into wriggling, flapping beasts.
These wildly ingenious new designs reflected the order and beauty Escher saw in a world that often seemed chaotic. Strangely logical manipulations of space, his works are slyly humorous visually stunning, and rigorously obedient to their own physics and perspectives. Escher's world is best enjoyed if you are willing to see from several viewpoints at once.