At this point, most of Escher's work was woodcuts, but one of his more pivotal journeys was his sketching trip through Italy and Spain in 1922. In particular, when he visited Granada, he was enamored by the intricate decorative designs of the Alhambra and Moorish architecture and became fascinated with the geometrical symmetries and interlocking repetitive patterns in the tiles on the walls and ceilings. This would later light his continued interest in mathematics and tessellation and later influenced his work. In 1941 and 1942, Escher wrote about his revelations in his sketchbook named Regelmatige vlakverdeling in asymmetrische congruente veelhoeken. Upon his return, he translated his sketches from Granada to his woodblock designs. These designs tended to shift towards being highly symmetrical following strict pattern rules. These pattern rules were guided by Escher's urge to "fill the plane" and leave every space filled. Some of these pattern rules included the rule that each repeated shape had to be individually recognizable but also interconnected and integral to the formation of its adjacent patterns.
Later in his life, Escher would move to Italy and live in Rome from 1923 to 1935. It was around this time that Escher met his wife, Jetta Umiker. However, in 1935, due to the political climate of Italy, he was forced to leave and moved to Switzerland. But shortly after, he would move to Belgium and eventually the Netherlands, where he stayed until 1970. Escher completed most of his work during his time in the Netherlands, and passed away on 27 March 1972 at the age of 73.
I particularly found Escher's work fascinating because of how different in nature it was to most other works. There was a certain beauty of the interlocking shapes and figures that attracted me. The creative division of plane and use of intricate, interlocking designs was fascinating to see and had my eyes traveling across the page. Escher's use of mathematical concepts, even if he didn't particularly intend to, to create his works was very impressive. His designs gave a sense of completeness to his work in the sense that every space was filled but also a sense of incompleteness in that the drawing seemed to continue to infinity and had no visual ending cue. This dissonance was particularly drawing to me.
| Early sketch of Moorish tiling in Alhambra. 1936. Sketch.|
| Eight Heads. 1922. Woodcut, printed with nine impressions.|
| Relativity. 1953. Lithograph.|