Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Riley Pratt

M.C. Escher

I decided to do my post on M.C. Escher, a famous Dutch graphic artist from the 1900's.  His most notable drawings, lithographs, and woodcuts play with impossible spaces and mind-bending perspectives.  He had a unique ability not only to visualize theoretical shapes and perspectives, but also to turn these ideas into incredible works of art.  He did wonderful realistic pieces as well, inspired by his travel throughout Europe.

Growing up, he had numerous health issues that interfered with his ability to perform in school.  He recognized his artistic abilities, but even struggled in architecture school.  His career took off when he discovered graphic design and his pieces would become famous throughout the world.

Relativity, 1953

Belvedere, 1958

Waterfall, 1961

The amazing thing about Escher's works was his ability to execute the illusions he imagined with perspective and shading.  In Relativity, the viewer is drawn into different areas that only seem real when your eyes remain within a confined space.  As you leave the space, you find yourself reorienting your point of view so that the objects make sense as three dimensional objects.  Eventually, it's possible to find your way back to the same place even though you were following a path only up or down the stairs.  Belvedere manages to connect two identical rectangular platforms, oriented in opposite directions, as if they were stacked normally.  In Waterfall, Escher amazingly depicts a waterfall that appears to fall two stories, but actually starts at the same level as the wheel it's turning.  The connection of the support beams and their shading is crucial to pulling off the illusion.

Escher's work makes you think about our perception of reality.  As you try to make sense of the space he's created, you might end up in the same place you began without realizing you were going there.  There's a lot to learn from his ability to use shading to make the surreal seem so real at first glance.  It's possible to imagine yourself standing in one place in the world he created, but reality fades away as you move throughout the space or try to make sense of it as a whole. 


Hofstadter, Douglas R. M.C. Escher: Visions of Symmetry. 2nd ed. New York City: Abrams Books, 2003. Print.

The M.C. Escher Company B.V. “M.C. Escher: The Official Website.”

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