M.C. Escher hated the Dutch high school he attended between 1912 and 1918. He failed his exam and enjoyed only the drawing lessons. But now it appears that the school’s architecture informs some of his later prints.

“It recently became clear that the staircase in Escher’s secondary school was a crucial factor in several of his works,” writes Micky Piller, curator of the The Hague Escher Museum, in The Amazing World of M.C. Escher (2015). “This discovery was confirmed by analysis of this work and photographs taken in the school.

“Escher was an unhappy boy when he was going up and down this staircase. Thirty years on, he still described his school years as ‘the hell that was Arnhem.’ Here he would have seen pupils walking in every direction. Imagine this in your mind’s eye and you will understand the rotating perspective in the print.”

“It was not all imagination, we must conclude now.”