Escher in The Palace

September 19, 2014

Escher at the Palace in The Hague is dedicated to the work of the world famous graphic artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972). Nearly all his prints are exhibited, among them Belvedere, Drawing Hands, Waterfall and Ascending and Descending. Here you can see how Escher changed fishes into birds, made water flow upstream and his less known, but very attractive early Italian landscapes. On the main- and first floor you can see how his work progressed from depicting the real world to his fantasy worlds. Optical illusion is a key word in his work.

An optical illusion depicts something which is in fact impossible. M.C. Escher was a master in this field. An optical illusion literally means doing puzzles with your eyes. The visitor will be able to unravel some of Escher’s mysteries like the Impossible Penrose Triangle by constructing one himself. The extra presentation on the second floor shows various themes in which Escher was involved, like reflection, perception and perspective.

The building and its Royal history

This former Palace has been bought and was extensively altered by Queen Emma in 1896, the great-great-grandmother of today’s King of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Willem Alexander. It was designed by Pieter de Swarte between 1760 and 1764 and, until the mid-nineteenth century, mainly inhabited by wealthy patricians. Eventually it was bought by Prince Henry, brother of King Willem І І І. Prince Henry was Queen Emma’s brother in law and she purchased the building out of his hereditament for use as her winter palace.

Her successors – Queen Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix – used the palace as their main office. Queen Juliana was the first monarch to set out from it in her golden carriage on ‘Prinsjesdag’ for the opening of parliament. The scenes of the royal family waving from the little golden balcony are well known to the Dutch.

The Palace is situated in the heart of historical The Hague and gives a homely and royal surrounding for the extraordinary world of Escher since November 2002. It is the only public building in the bigger area of Rotterdam and The Hague with a true royal history.

Chandeliers by Hans van Bentem

Since December 2003 the palace has 15 chandeliers made by Hans van Bentem, a young Dutch sculptor. Their shapes are either inspired by the work of Escher, or the eighteenth century palace. They form a surreal combination with the prints of Escher and heighten the royal atmosphere of the building. In 2007 Van Bentem designed and installed another series of light-objects in the basement.

Donald Judd’s Parquet

Donald Judd (1928-1994) was one of the foremost minimal artists. Minimal Art was primarily an American movement that, around the sixties, designed objects using basic industrial materials such as sheet metal, wood or plywood. Despite the simplicity of the used materials, the works dominate the space around them.

Escher in The Palace:

Lange Voorhout 74, The Hague/Den Haag, Netherlands
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 – 17:00, Closed on 3rd Tuesday in September, Christmas Day and the 1st of January.

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