Name at birth: Maurits Cornelis Escher
Escher's mind-bending prints and drawings playfully explore perspective, mirror images and physical space. Two of his best-known prints, "Relativity" (1953) and "Ascending and Descending" (1960), feature staircases which seem to defy gravity and run in impossible directions. His most popular work may be "Hand With Reflecting Sphere" (1935), an image of himself as seen in a globe held in his outstretched hand. Escher also is known for his tessellations -- mosaics of repetitive designs in which positive and negative images interconnect and sometimes blend into one another. Though Escher was not trained in math, his work has been embraced by mathematicians who see his drawings as artistic depictions of geometric principles.