In the following decade, Escher was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he became reclusive, fixating on his elaborate processions of creatures and wildly structured worlds. He insisted for much of his life that he was not an artist but rather a mathematician, and he was perplexed when countercultural movements of the 1960s—hippies, in particular—reprinted his works in electric colors as opposed to their original black-and-white formats. Balking at what he saw as an incongruous pairing of tastes, Escher once said that his work was “cerebral and rationalized, instead of wild and sexy.”
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