Who Is M.C. Escher?

Tesselation information and facts about M.C. Escher.

M.C Escher

M.C. Escher (the M.C. stands for Maurits Cornelis) was born on June 17, 1898 in Leeuwarden. He was the youngest son of George and Sara Gleichman. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem, where M.C. attended primary and secondary school. He was a sickly child, though, and had to be put into a special school at the age of seven, since he failed second grade. 1918 was the year he graduated from his shool, and a year later went to the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts, but failed many subjects, which lead him to switch to decorative arts. He studied under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita until 1922, when he left school with knowledge and began to travel around Italy and Spain. A fourteenth-century Moorish castle in Granada, Spain caught his attention. This castle that left him in awe was the Alhambra, whose decorative design was intricately based on mathmatical formulas featuring repetitive patterns added to the walls and ceilings, and was a great inspiration for his art work. Italy was not only important to his work, but also his personal life, because Italy was where he met his wife Jetta Umiker. The couple moved to Rome, and had their first son, Giorgio (George) Arnaldo Escher, named after his grandfather. They carried on to have two more sons, Arthur and Jan. Escher found it very hard to live in Italy, and Italy made him very upset, so the family decided to move to Switzerland, where they stayed for two years. After Switzerland the family moved a few more times, until they came to a rest at Rosa Spier Huis in Laren, a retirement home for artists. M.C. had his own studio there and stayed there until he died on March 27, 1972, at the age of seventy-three.
Maurits Cornelis Escher


A tessellation is a two-dimensional plane covered by the repition of geometric shapes with no gaps or overlaps. Tessellations often showed up in Escher's work, and tessella means "small square" in Latin. The first recorded study of tessellations was in 1618, and was recorded by Johannes Kepler when he wrote about semiregular and regular tessellations. A regular tessellation is made up of all congruent regular polygons, and a semiregular tessellation is made up of a variety of the eight regular polygons. Also there are edge to edge tessellation, which are made up of adjacent tiles that share full sides. There are also other tessellations such as regular versus irregular, periodic versus nonperiodic, symmetric versus asymmetric, and fractal tessellations, as well as other classifications. When assigning colors to tiles in a tessellation, you have to state whether colors ae part of the illustration or part of the tiling. The four color theroem says that for every tessellation in a normal [Euclid] plane, with a choice of four colors, colored in with one color so that no tiles of the same color meet at a length of poistive curve, but this will not generally respect the symmetry of the tessellation. If you want a color color choice that will, you may need up to seven colors.

Some transformations used in making a tessellation include translation, reflection, rotation, and glide reflection. A translation simply means to move an object. When you translate it, you need two things: a magnitude and a direction. Rotation is the spinning of an object or shape around a point called the center of rotation. The amount you turn the object is called angle of rotation and is measured in degrees. Reflection is the flipping of an object over a line or axis. The line that you flip it over is called the line of symmetry. Another type of reflection is glide reflection, and is simply a translation and reflection combined. It doesnt matter which oorder you do them in, they still come out the same product and are reffered to as glide reflection.

A tessellation done by M.C. Escher.