I've been way stuck on painters lately, so let's mix things up at least a little...Here's the deliciously mind-boggling graphic artist, M.C. Escher!
M.C. Escher (1898-1972) - Graphic Artist
"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?"
M.C., or Maurits Cornelius Escher, was a Dutch artist famous for his lithographs, wood cuts, and mathematically challenging "impossible structures." He spend a great deal of time in Italy throughout his career, otherwise living in Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The cold, damp climates of the latter countries forced him to become absorbed in his work since he cared little for those vistas.
"He who wonders discovers that this in itself a wonder."
What I love about Escher, besides trying to figure out his impossible concepts, is the detail and breadth of his work. I love that little kitty cat lithograph, the realistic detail in the ball reflection (except the figure looks like a cartoon, you'll notice!), the symmetry, and play between line, space, and form. He keeps you guessing and he is one artist that, for me, really embodies the idea of the limitless creativity of the mind.
"Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it's in my basement...let me go upstairs and check."
Actually, Escher did not have mathematical training, but as you can see, many of his works (many different types of his works!) have strong mathematical components that Escher developed intuitively on his own. Many included tesselations like the piece above. This mathematical trend first appeared in his work around 1936 when he was journeying through the Mediterranean.