Though I never knew much about art, during my high-school years I became especially fascinated with a group of artists that I perceived as visual revolutionaries. Dali, whose work was up on my grandmother’s wall, with sci-fi fantasy apocalypic painting, and MC Escher – playing endless visual tricks on our feeble minds. I was thrilled to learn that The Hague has a museum dedicated to MC Escher, who I always felt was an underappreciated artist. Dali’s get a lot of attention in museums, but somehow Escher’s are sometimes looked down on as more of graphic art – perhaps an inferior type of art. But I could be wrong.
Wikipedia writes :
The Escher Museum (Escher in het Paleis, Escher in the Palace) is a museum in The Hague, Netherlands, featuring the works of the Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher. This museum opened on 15 November 2002.
The museum features a permanent display of a large number of woodcuts and lithographs by Escher, among them the world famous prints Air and Water (birds become fish); Belvedere (the inside out of a Folly); Waterfall (where water seems to flow upwards); Drawing (two hands drawing each other). Escher in Het Paleis shows the early lovely Italian landscapes, the many mirror prints and a choice from the tesselation drawings, further the three versions of the Metamorphosis, from the first small one to the third of 7 meters. This one is shown in a circle. It underlines the new vision of the museum on the work of M.C. Escher.
The third floor of the museum is dedicated to the Optical Illusion, besides the famous Escher Room in which grownups seem to be smaller than their children one’s eyes will be tricked by multiple interactive dispays.
The museum website adds :
Escher in Het Paleis is a permanent exhibition dedicated to the world-famous artist M.C. Escher, whose art startled millions of people all over the world. The collection is housed in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands. It is the only public building in The Hague where the original royal ambience of a palace has been maintained.
With over 150 prints you can always see the best known works and a changing selection of graphic work and tesselations from the complete works of Maurits C. Escher (1898-1972) at Escher in Het Paleis. Highlight of the visit and crown on the exhibition is the 7 meters long Metamorphosis III. This enormous woodcut and the non-conventional way of displaying it let’s the visitor actually experience Escher combining time and space as an organic unity.
The art of Escher instills a sense of bewilderment and wonder, and fascinates young and old alike with his magical world. The exhibition includes famous ‘impossible’ prints such as “Day and Night”, where the Dutch landscape appears to morph into a flock of birds, and “Climbing and Descending” which depicts rows of people perpetually ascending and descending a flight of stairs. His fantastical structures, which couldn’t possibly exist in the real world, are optical illusions that play with perspective.
As well as showcasing his famous prints, The Palace also houses a collection of Escher’s early works, such as the beautiful Italian landscapes, studies of Moorish mosaics and bizarre still lives. The photographs of Escher’s family capture the private life of Escher, and the wood blocks and lithographic stones familiarize visitors in an accessible manner with his working methods.
With almost all of his work, long before computers and the relevant math-science, you get the sense that he’s exploring the boundaries of perception.
Somewhat of a mad genius, if you ask me.
The museum house is also quite interesting to walk around in :
(Look for me in that last photo)
I absolutely adore this museum, one of the nicest one I’ve been in recently. Aside from the fascinating art that allowed me to reunite with my early years of art discovery, it has a number of more hands-on displays that illustrate the impossibility and revolutionary perspective of Escher’s work and vision. Definitely one of my all-times favorite artists.