Posts Tagged ‘Haarlem’

Artist of the moment…..M.C. Escher….

If you are bored on a very cold and snowy take one hour and watch this exciting documentary on Escher.

A short briefing on Escher’s use of mathematics and the creation of repeating patterns in his artwork.


M.C. Escher was born in Leeuwarden,  Netherlands in the year 1898. The house he was born in is a museum housing ceramics of the region.  He is known for his many works of art that challenge the viewer to see “hidden images.” A great example of this is the works that have a black fish and a white fish with the same simple shape. Escher was a tremendous graphic artist and I dream of what he could do with such products like artproducts software…

The artist was born Maurits Cornelius Escher. His father was an engineer.

Growing up the Escher was often sick. His grades in school weren’t outstanding but from a young age the artist loved to draw.

Escher attended school in Delft. Also studied at the Architecture and Ornamental Design School in Haarlem. (A side note, if you travel around the world to look at art  as I do, take one day and spend it in Haarlem. I ended up staying there rather than Amsterdam as I loved the slower and more laid back place. Frans Hals paintings are easy to find since this was his territory back in the days of the Dutch Renaissance. )

Among his early learning years Escher’s most important mentor was Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. Mesquita was a great graphic artist who made woodcuts and linocuts. He also was a tremendous painter. Later in his life Escher  made sure his mentor was not forgotten. Below is a floral work by de Mesquita.


Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita was also a master printmaker and I can’t help but think that is the most important lesson that Escher learned from him. Below is an example of  a woodcut by de Mesquita. Mesquita is an important story in that he was born to a Jewish family in Amsterdam. During a sweep he was taken to the gas chambers and executed. Escher always gave him props and I wanted to mention him since many works were destroyed by the Nazi’s.


Married in 1924 and then moved to Rome until 1935. Then he and the family moved back to the Netherlands where he would live the remainder of his life.

Whilst travelling in Europe the artist became found of Alhambra Palace located in Granada, Spain. The use of mathematics in their design and repititious made logical sense the artist. Here is a fantastic example of the intricate use of design in the palace. Escher was fascinated by this palace and returned to visit on several occassions.


Escher passed away in Hilversum, Netherlands  at the age of 73  years old.

Another great fact about the artist was that unlike some artists who age and are no longer able to work, the artist found a wonderful Dutch retirement home that was meant to be a place for aging artists to live, whilst still being able to engage and participate in the art world. This particular home was founded by Rosa Spier who was a notable harpist. Escher  spent the last two years of his life here. A picture of the home located in Loren, Netherlands is below.

A link to the artist’s own website:

Price range information: The artist stuck to creating prints. Prices on lithographs range from $10,000 to $30,000. Woodcuts range from $1,000 to $80,000.



Happy painting!