ArcheoRoma / Events / Escher, the Dutch genius at the Bonaparte Palace

Escher, the Dutch genius at the Bonaparte Palace

31 October - 1 April 2024

Relativity (detail) 1953. Escher, Exhibition - Palazzo Bonaparte, Rome
Relativity (detail), 1953

Palazzo Bonaparte, Rome

Spazio Generali Valore Cultura

Escher and Italy

In love with the ‘Bel Paese’, Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898 – 1972) found irrepressible inspiration in Italy, remaining deeply fascinated by the landscapes of the south such as Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Rome and also Tuscany where he visited Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano. During his stay in Rome, where he lived from 1923 to 1935, he developed an intense creative phase that had a profound impact on his later work.

The Roman museum, on the centenary of his first visit to the capital in 1923, dedicates this exceptional event to the Dutch genius of impossible staircases, illusions and alchemic paradoxes, beloved of mathematicians and hippies, with around 300 works, including the most famous:

Self-Portrait, Hand with Reflecting Sphere, Metamorphosis II, Relativity, Bond of Union and the Temple of Segesta, Ascending and Descending, Belvedere, Waterfall, Gallery of Prints. Works that reflect his complex relationship with mathematics, geometry and the theme of the graphic reproduction of infinity.

The complete series of 12 woodcuts ‘Roman Nocturnes‘ produced in 1934 – including ‘Colonnade of St. Peter’s‘, ‘St. Nicholas in Prison‘, ‘Small Churches, Piazza Venezia‘, ‘St. Francesca Romana‘ – has a strong emotional impact, “The Dioscuro Pollux” – which accompany other works such as “Rome (and the Griffon of the Borghese)” of 1927, “St. Michael of the Frisians“, Rome (1932) and “Between St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel” (1936) depicting the splendours of the ancient Urbe.

The Exhibition

The exhibition path, enriched by a reconstruction of Escher’s Dutch studio in Baam, is an endless exploration among drawings and lithographs that fascinate and captivate. The exhibition is divided into eight sections:

  1. The Beginnings: Influenced by Art Nouveau, the young artist creates his first realistic illustrations of flowers and insects inspired by nature; included are the 28 woodcuts from the book “XXIV Emblemata.”
  2. Italy: His extended stay in Rome allowed Escher to capture the beauty of the eternal city immortalized in prestigious woodcuts, made from sketches drafted at night.
  3. Tesselations: Tesselation, a distinctive element of his style, manifests in natural forms, with figures of animals. This interest is due to the discovery of the regular mosaics of the Alhambra in Granada, during his first trip to Spain.
  4. Metamorphosis: Focuses on metamorphoses, a creative process based on the transformation and concatenation of tessellations, creating a world of interconnected abstract and animated forms.
  5. Structure of Space: His vast interest in mathematics and geometry materializes through a focus on spheres, reflective surfaces, and geometric solids.
  6. Geometric Paradoxes: This section analyzes how Escher attempted to push the limits of unimaginable situations as evidenced by his most famous works: Ascending and Descending, Belvedere, Waterfall, Print Gallery, and Relativity.
  7. Commissioned Works: Presents a variety of commissioned works, including ex libris, greeting cards, and designs for logos and stamps.
  8. Eschermania: The influence of his work is found in various artistic and creative sectors from the 1950s to the present: from greeting cards to logo design, stamps, iconic images known in fashion and advertising.

This exhibition offers a deep dive into the universe of Escher, demonstrating how his work has influenced various fields of visual arts and continues to inspire artists and enthusiasts worldwide.

Lithographs, Engravings, and Mezzotints

Wood engravings, lithographs, and mezzotints are the techniques that made the brilliant Dutch engraver and graphic artist famous. His works have a strong mathematical structure, and many of the worlds he drew are built around unrealizable objects.

Those who know art, and even those who do not, must love Escher because the artist incorporates multiple theories and returns them through tactical solutions expressed in optical effects and impractical architectures, with the illusion of three-dimensionality.

Escher, with his creations, challenges parameters, perspectives, and even gravity itself, to trace a universe where he overturns all known coordinates, creating an artistic miracle. He creates dreamlike and improbable worlds, and his insistence on geometry, mathematics, design, and graphics shapes a symmetry on a mosaic that represents infinity. A cosmic infinity that elects him as the most fascinating alchemist artist of all time.

The exhibition, under the patronage of the Municipality of Rome – Department of Culture and the Embassy and General Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is produced and organized by Arthemisia in collaboration with the M.C. Escher Foundation and Maurits and is curated by Federico Giudiceandrea – one of the world’s leading experts on Escher – and Mark Veldhuysen, CEO of the M.C. Escher Company.

Sponsor Generali Valore Cultura, special partner Ricola, mobility partner Atac and Frecciarossa Official Train, media partner Repubblica and Urban Vision, hospitality partner Hotel de Russie and Hotel de la Ville and partner Mercato Centrale Roma.

Monday to Thursday: 9.00 AM – 7.30 PM; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 9.00 AM – 9.00 PM (ticket office closes one hour earlier).
Special Openings:
Tuesday, October 31, Wednesday, November 1, Friday, December 8, from December 26 to 30, from January 2 to 7, Sunday, March 31, and Monday, April 1, 9.00 AM-9.00 PM.
Sunday, December 24: 9.00 AM-6.00 PM; Monday, December 25: 2.30 PM-9.00 PM; Sunday, December 31: 9.00 AM-6.00 PM; Monday, January 1: 12.00 PM-9.00 PM (ticket office closes one hour earlier).

Full Price: €16.00
Reduced Price: €15.00 for those over 70 years (with ID); children from 11 to under 18 years; law enforcement officers; disabled individuals; journalists with a valid National Order card (professionals, trainees, publicists); Arthemisia Card holders; annual Metrobus Card holders on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, excluding holidays, purchasable only at the box office, upon presentation of the card and an ID.
Reduced Generali: €14.00 for Generali employees and agents, and Generali Insurance customers with nominal Dem.
Reduced University: €14.00 every Tuesday excluding holidays, for all university students without age limit.
Special Reduced: €10.00 for licensed guides not accompanying a group.
Children’s Reduced: €8.00 for children from 4 to under 11 years.
Group Reduced: €15.00, mandatory reservation, minimum 10 maximum 20 people, mandatory microphone usage. To ensure regular scheduling of visits, pre-booking with prepayment is mandatory for school groups and groups, both when the assistance of a guide is requested and when it is not.
School Reduced: €7.00, mandatory reservation, maximum 25 people, mandatory microphone usage for secondary schools.
Open Ticket: €18.00, allows entry to the exhibition without the need to block the date and time slot.
Complimentary: Children up to under 4 years; accompanying person or guide of a booked group (1 per group); teachers visiting with a school group (2 per group); ICOM members (with card); one companion for a disabled person; invitation coupon holders; VIP Card Arthemisia holders; journalists with a valid National Order card (professionals, trainees, publicists) on duty upon request for accreditation by the Editorial Office at
Please note that once purchased, it is not possible to change the date, time, or type of ticket. Cancellations and refunds are not provided.

Additional Information
We recommend bringing only small bags as access with helmets, backpacks, or large bags is not possible.

Audioguide included (except for Reduced Group and Reduced School tickets).
Access to the exhibition is limited, and reservation through advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. It is also possible to purchase entrance tickets on-site: in this case, entry to the exhibition may involve waiting to respect the safety capacities of the rooms.

Booked tickets will be sent via email in PDF format to be presented at the entrance of the exhibition.

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