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.