The Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher (1898 - 1972) is known and loved worldwide for his plane-filling patterns and prints of buildings that are optical illusions. Escher's graphic work made him internationally famous but few people know about the influence of Islamic art on his work. His fascination for Islamic art began during two visits to Southern Spain in 1922 and 1936, when he visited the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita mosque in Córdoba. The endless repetition and regularity with which patterns filled whole planes intrigued him. With recognizable animal figures he made his own non-abstract variations of the Islamic motifs he had seen in Andalusia. He also studied the mathematical background to pattern formation.
Escher Meets Islamic Art shows how the graphic artist transformed the geometric patterns of Islamic art into his renowned 'mathematical art'. A unique cultural encounter between Islamic and European art.