Friday, December 12, 2008

M.C. Escher, Castrovalva, 1930

In May and June 1929 Escher traveled through the mountainous landscape of Abruzzi, Italy, planning to produce an illustrated book on the region. This never materialized, but he did create 28 drawings on oil paintings, fine art reproductions, oil paintings reproductions which he based prints, including this lithograph depicting the town of Castrovalva.

The Dutch artist Maurits C. Escher (1898-1972) was a draftsman, book illustrator, tapestry designer, and muralist, but his primary work was as a printmaker. Born in Leeuwarden, Holland, the son of a civil engineer, Escher spent most of his childhood in Arnhem. Aspiring to be an architect, Escher enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts, original oil paintings in Haarlem. While studying there from 1919 to 1922, his emphasis shifted from architecture to drawing oil paintings and printmaking upon the encouragement of his teacher Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. In 1924 Escher married Jetta Umiker, and the couple settled in Rome to raise a family. They resided in Italy until 1935, when growing political turmoil forced them to move first to Switzerland, then to Belgium. In 1941, with World War II under way and German troops occupying Brussels, Escher returned to Holland and settled in Baarn, where he lived and worked until shortly before his death.