In his early work Escher chose a broad range of traditional subjects, trying out his talent in woodcuts of people, landscapes, cityscapes and Bible scenes. After completing his training he travelled through southern Europe. He fell in love with Italy and its landscape, and with a Swiss-Russian woman, Jetta Umiker. After they married in 1924 the newlyweds settled in Rome, from where Escher often travelled around the country, focusing on the natural environment, landscapes, and the arches and pillars in churches, and the alleyways and staircases in old towns. Trips to Spain, including visits to the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Córdoba, also influenced Escher’s development as an artist. He increasingly experimented with architecture, opting in his prints for an extreme perspective on structures, and regularly pushing the boundaries of reality. From 1926 onwards he regularly exhibited his work in Italy and the Netherlands, including at Pulchri Studio in The Hague, and also in Warsaw, Prague and Madrid. In 1929 Escher started making lithographs. His trips around Italy, Spain and Corsica continued to inspire his art. He left Italy in 1935, but the landscape of Switzerland and – after a subsequent move – Belgium barely inspired him, and Escher turned more and more to his own imagination. His earlier fascination with landscapes evolved into a fascination with mindscapes: imaginative ‘landscapes’ created in Escher’s own head. He could spend hours thinking about new worlds full of impossibilities, albeit always with Italy in the back of his mind. After a long sea voyage to Spain in 1936 he turned his attention to tessellations, and from that moment on these contiguous patterns increasingly formed the basis of his prints.