Mathematician as well as an Artist

James Weinpert

Something you should know about M.C. Escher

Maurits Cornelis was born in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands in 1898. He was the youngest son of George Arnold Escher and Sara Gleichman. The youngest child of a Dutch engineer expected to follow in his father's footsteps and become an engineer. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem, where he attended primary school and secondary school until 1918. He dropped out of the School of Architecture and Ornamental Design in Haarlem in 1922 when he decided his true calling was graphic design. His career was much influenced by master printmaker, Jessurun de Mesquita. It was here that he received training on a style of art called woodcutting, with which all his early work was done. His interest in tessellation began in 1936, when he traveled to Spain and viewed the tile patterns used in the Alhambra. He spent many days sketching these tilings, and later claimed that this “was the richest source of inspiration that I have ever tapped.”

M.C. Escher's Tessellations


There are three types of transformations in a tessellation. These transformations are reflections, translations, and rotations. A reflection is when the object or shape is flipped around to make a mirror image. A translation is when you slide the object or shape over a certain distance. A rotation is when the object or shape is turned a certain degree.