I’ve just put down a book on the graphic work of M.C. Escher and feel overcome by an influence to write a short blog as a tribute to the artist’s life and work. Through the technically elaborate work of Escher, we can tell that he was a pretty complex fellow. Not only did he create intricate, realistic depictions of impossible structures, but in doing so, he also influenced the work of mathematicians and scientists. The cosmologist Professor Roger Penrose, who’s mathematical sketches have also influenced some of Escher’s famous prints, has said that some “scientific concepts could be best expressed in concise images.”
Escher’s prints reveal worlds which feature things rather familiar to us, yet the arrangement of these things remain hauntingly unusual. These arrangements are based on geometrical structures that, in our world, can only appear complete depending on one’s physical viewpoint.
So now, through the feature of some amazing works and thoughtful words from the artist, here is a small tribute to the great M.C. Escher.
‘’By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analysing the observations that I had made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. Although I am absolutely innocent of training or knowledge in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematics than with my fellow artists.’’
M.C. Escher, Relativity (1953)
“The two-dimensional is every bit as fictitious as the four-dimensional, for nothing is flat, not even the most finely polished mirror. And yet we stick to the convention that a wall or a piece of paper is flat, and curiously enough, we still go on, as we have done since time immemorial, producing illusions of space on just such plane surfaces as those. Surely it is a bit absurd to draw a few lines and then them: ‘’This is a house.”
M.C. Escher, Balcony
‘’What I give form to in daylight is only one per cent of what I have seen in darkness.’’
M.C. Escher, Reptiles.
“Nowadays the growth of a graphic image can be divided into two sharply defined phases. The process begins with the search for a visual form such as will interpret as clearly as possible one’s train of thought. Usually a long time elapses before I decide that I have got it clear in my mind. Yet a mental image is something completely different from a visual image, and however much one exerts oneself, one can never manage ti capture the fullness of that perfection which hovers in the mind and which one thinks of, quite falsely, as something that is ‘’seen’’. After a long series of attempts, at last – when I am just about at the end of my resources – I manage to cast my lovely dream in the defective visual mould of a detailed conceptual sketch.”
M.C. Escher, Circle Limit.
“If I compare the way in which a graphic sheet from my technique period came into being with that of a print expressing a particular train of thought, then I realize that they are almost poles apart. What often happened in the past was that I would pick out from a pile of sketches one which it seemed to me might be suitable for reproduction by means of some technique that was interesting me at that moment in time. But now it is from amongst those techniques, which I have to some degree mastered, that I choose the one which lends itself more than any other, to the expression of the particular idea that has taken hold of my mind.”
M.C. Escher, Bond of Union.
Escher, M., 1959. In: B. Taschen, ed. M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work. s.l.:s.n.
Professor Penrose, R., 2015. The Art of the Impossible: MC Escher and Me – Secret Knowledge (part 1 and 2). [Online Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7kW8xd8p4s [Accessed 18-04-2017]