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Download M.C. Escher's legacy: a centennial celebration: collection by Doris Schattschneider PDF

By Doris Schattschneider

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12. C. Escher, Morano, Calabria, 1930. Woodcut These are the kinds of scenes that have since time immemorial inspired poetic imaginations in the most powerful manner, and yet I have never seen anyone capture quite as clearly their magical feel. Perhaps the most stunning portrait of an Italian hilltown that I have ever gazed upon is Escher’s 1930 woodcut Morano, Calabria (Fig. 12), which he made from a photograph he’d taken a few months earlier [2, p. 46]. If one compares the photo with the final print, one sees all sorts of devices he has used in order to turn reality into a poem.

In Ravello, Escher’s early prints of Italian landscapes come to life. There one also discovers themes that reappeared later in the consciously geometrical works for which he eventually became world famous: green lizards scurry along stone walls, arches in cloisters recede to infinity, and columns, balconies, and staircases are linked in fantastic architecture. Apalled by the rise of Fascism, Escher left Italy for Switzerland and Belgium, and then returned, for good, to his native Netherlands. But for the rest of his life, those lizards and that architecture insinuated themselves into his woodcuts and lithographs, as in a dream.

The hallmark of this brand of fiction is the scattering, among a perfectly normal series of events, of occasional paranormal occurrences, which are recounted quite blithely and straightforwardly, as if they were just as real and just as ordinary as the events that frame them. C. Escher found of blending the purely real with the fantastic or the magical. I can’t account for this rather irrational discrepancy of my literary and artistic tastes, but there it is anyway. C. Escher’s visual version of magical realism, and in so doing to unwind the clock even further, I would cite the untitled 1919 woodcut that in my books is simply assigned the stark label Tree (Fig.

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