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10 Facts About M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher was strongly influenced by architecture.
Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Maurits Cornelis Escher, better known as M.C. Escher, was one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. His work, including "Ascending and Descending," "Waterfall," "Drawing Hands," "Reptiles" and "Relativity," is renowned worldwide. Although Escher's most enduring work was as a printmaker, he also dabbled in drafting, book illustrating and tapestry designing.


Escher was born in Leeuwarden, Holland, on June 17, 1898, to George Arnold Escher and Sarah Gleichman Escher.

Childhood Sickness

M.C. Escher suffered from a variety of illnesses as a child. The illnesses were bad enough that he had to be moved to the seaside town of Zandvoort as child in order to improve his health.


In 1919, Escher enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem with the intent of becoming an architect. Although his focus would soon shift to art, Escher remained fascinated with architecture throughout his life.

Jetta Umiker

Escher met Jetta Umiker during his travels around Italy in 1923. In 1924, the two were married and moved to Rome to raise a family.

George Escher

George Escher was the first son of M.C. and Jetta. He was born in late July of 1926. M.C. Escher's fame was such at this time that King Emmanuel and Mussolini attended George's christening.


Although Escher's work with strange geometry and mathematical impossibilities are his most famous works, he also made several realistic art pieces early in his career. Much of this work was inspired by his time living and traveling through Italy. Even in these early pieces, Escher's interest in perspective is evident.

Mental Imagery

Escher used the term mental imagery to describe the seemingly impossible art that he began making in the mid 1930s. This change in artistic direction coincides with Escher moving his family out of Italy in 1935.


On April 27, 1955, Escher was knighted in the name of Queen Juliana of the Dutch royal house.


Throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, Escher gave many lectures at renowned universities worldwide. Some of these essays have found their way into print form over the years in books such as "Escher on Escher."


Escher died at the age of 73 on March 27, 1972. He died of cancer.

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