M.C. Escher Essay

1086 words - 4 pages

M.C. Escher occupies a unique spot among the most popular artists of the past century. While his contemporaries focused on breaking from traditional art and its emphasis on realism and beauty, Escher found his muse in symmetry and infinity. His attachment to geometric forms made him one of modernism’s most recognizable artists and his work remains as relevant as ever.

Escher’s early works are an odd mix of cubism and traditional woodcut. From these beginnings, one could already note Escher’s fondness for repetition and clean shapes. While simple and exploratory, these works were the signs of a nascent art career.

Beginning in the mid-1930s, Escher’s work turned very pointedly to the style we associate with him today. Some of his most iconic works were completed in this period and his fascination with spherical distortion, recursion, and optical illusions took full force. Recursion figured very prominently in this and later periods, so it’s worth understanding what it is and how Escher was led to it.

Few people have heard of Roger Penrose, H.S.M. Coxeter, or George Polya, but all of these mathematicians influenced Escher’s approach to art. Penrose and Coxeter especially had a lasting impact on Escher and his own mathematical research, as both were interested in geometry and repetition. Penrose was interested in repetition and had, later in life, discovered a specific set of tiles called Penrose tilings which are recognizable in floor designs in various buildings. Coxeter was an expert geometer who introduced Escher to many higher-level geometrical concepts. Escher himself was interested in topology, the study of surfaces, and tessellations, non-overlapping patterns. It’s unclear if Escher was aware of the study of recursion in mathematics, but his work shows some of the most interesting examples of it in the arts.

Recursion is a fairly simple concept. Something that recurs references itself. The reflection in a mirror of a mirror is recursive: the reflected mirror is reflecting its own image and doing so indefinitely. You’ve also likely seen the Droste effect when using camcorders hooked up to a TV or a computer: when the camcorder is looking at the screen, you can see an infinite series of screens generate themselves, since the camcorder is recording the same image that it’s sending to the screen. The game Portal is a great example of recursion, when two portals could be opened side by side in a narrow space and looking in either one produced an infinite series of the same image.

Escher combined recursion and pattern repetition in a unique way. Some of the works featuring this combination exhibits some complex mathematical and physical ideas, but to the casual viewer the works are sublime. The swans image above features this sort of combination. Note that the swans are tiled very precisely, with the same distance from adjacent swans and swans in the next row. Note also that they are in a closed loop, which is one construct made...

Find Another Essay On M.C. Escher

Escher and His Use of “Metaphor”-phosis

3225 words - 13 pages connected by evening, the slow sinking of the sun in the sky. In a typical life cycle, birth and death are bridged by various life stages, including infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and finally old age. Black can be morph into white through a series of graduations of shades of gray. The artist M.C. Escher was very aware of the effects of this most prevalent process, and drew attention to not only the aesthetic value of metamorphosis

What would Maurits Cornelis Escher’s Regular Division of the Plane with Birds look like on the torus

1077 words - 4 pages -andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Topology_in_mathematics.html>. Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1999. Index of /internet-cd/Test/Escher. 22 October, 1997. 28 July. 2005. . Locher, J.L. M.C. Escher. New York: Harry N Abrams, 1992. M. C. Escher print: Study of the Regular Division of the Plane with Horsemen. Skaalid, Bonnie. Web Design for

Maurits Cornelius Escher, Artist And Mathematician

627 words - 3 pages Maurits Cornelius EscherBorn in the small town of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, on June 17th 1898, was M.C. Escher. He is one of the most famous graphic artists of all time; what made his style so unique was not only his understanding and use of mathematics, but also his impossible worlds that he had created. He started a trend that many artists to this day still follow.His father, George Arnold Escher, was a hydraulics engineer, and his mother

Deceiving Art

2945 words - 12 pages the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Figure 1 Checker-shadow illusion Mauritz (Morris) Cornelis Escher (1898), a Graphic artist, is famous for optical illusions. His inspiration of nature and the natural environment is clearly demonstrated in his work and is quite remarkable; it’s only a quarter of the build of his astonishing work. The most amazing feature about M.C. Escher’s (2006) work is that he

Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People and Good Things to Bad People?

1534 words - 6 pages . Norton & Company Inc., 2012. 635-708. Print. Escher, M.C. Drawing Hands. The M.C. Escher Company B.V. Lithograph. Kafka, Franz. "The Metamorphosis." Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Peter Simon. Trans. Michael Hoffman. 3rd. Vol. F. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2012. 210-238. Print. Pirandello, Luigi. "Six Characters in Search of an Author." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Peter Simon. Trans. John Linstrum. 3rd

Art and Mind

858 words - 3 pages used illusions in their paintings, M.C. Escher, Scott Kim, and Salvador Dali. Each artist employed a different illusionary style. In Dali’s works of art, he often uses perceptual ambiguity and we often see hidden faces of himself or others that are painted into his paintings. To see these images, we must step away and look at certain objects from a different perspective. We must first comprehend why illusions happen to begin exploring

Ralph Bacerra

1573 words - 6 pages ). Bacerra took on both Eastern and Western influences when creating his pieces. The elaborate and decorative style borrows heavily from Asian ceramics and the abstract styles borrow heavily from the West (Lloyd, 2010). Besides cultural influences, Bacerra was also greatly influenced by artists of his time. Traces of M.C. Escher’s topsy-turvy use of lines to give false depth can be seen in Bacerra’s work. Figure 3 gives a good representation of how

Effect of Niobium on Microstructure of a High Chromium Alloyed Cold Work Tool Steel

1331 words - 5 pages , pp. 200-207, 2003. P. Muro, S. Gimenez, I. Iturriza, Sintering behaviour and fracture toughness characterization of D2 matrix tool steel, comparison with wrought and PM D2, Scripta Materialia, Vol. 46, No. 5, pp. 369–373, 2002. A. Schulz, V. Uhlenwinkel, C. Escher, R. Kohlmann, A. Kulmburg, M.C. Montero, R. Rabitsch, W. Sch¨utzenh¨ofer, D. Stocchi, D. Viale, Opportunities and challenges of spray forming high-alloyed steels, Materials

Socially Constructed Reality and Meaning in Notes from Underground

1737 words - 7 pages Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor Books, 1990. Escher, M.C. “Drawing Hands.” Cover of Norton edition of Notes from Underground. Katz, Michael R., ed. Notes from Underground. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. Chernyshevsky, Nikolai. “What Is to Be Done?” Katz 104-123. Dostoevsky, Fyodor. “Notes from Underground.” Katz 3-91

Dostoevsky’s Notes from Undergound - Reactions to an Overdeterministic Existence

1817 words - 7 pages heralding self-awareness as the key to controlling his own life, he finds that self-awareness only allows him to perceive how little control he could ever have. Works Cited and Consulted Berger, Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor Books, 1990. Escher, M.C. “Drawing Hands.” Cover of Norton edition of Notes from Underground. Katz, Michael R., ed. Notes from Underground. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. Chernyshevsky, Nikolai. “What Is to Be Done?” Katz 104-123. Dostoevsky, Fyodor. “Notes from Underground.” Katz 3-91 Morson Todorov

Tom Petty

1990 words - 8 pages Bay Packers. www.biography.com 26: M.C. Escher- He was born in the Netherlands in 1898. He was a Dutch graphic artist. www.mcescher.com 27: Tonya Harding- She was born in Oregon in 1970. She was a two time winning Olympic figure skater. www.tonyaharding.com 28: John Chapman- Otherwise known as “Johnny Appleseed” He was born in Massachusetts in 1774. He’s famous for bringing apple trees to large parts in Pennsylvania. www.britannica.com 29: John

Similar Essays

M.C Escher Essay

2432 words - 10 pages The Man, The Genius, The Mathematician, The Immortal: M.C. Escher"In my prints I try to show that we live in a beautiful and orderly world and not in a chaos without norms... I cannot help mocking our unwavering certainties... to confuse two and three dimensions, the plane and space or to poke fun at gravity (Locher 124)." These words were spoken by an artisan who overcame the struggles of a misdirected youth. This very same artisan became a

The Genius Of M.C. Escher Essay

1356 words - 5 pages The Genius of M.C. Escher Mathematics is the central ingredient in many artworks. While notions of infinity and parallel lines brought “perspective” to the artistic realm in creating realistic representations of depth and dimension, mathematics has influenced art in a more definite way – by actually becoming art. The introduction of fractal geometry and tessellations as creative works spawned the creation of new and innovative genres of

M.C. Escher : Mathematician First, Artist Last

639 words - 3 pages systematically building up my figures. I did not know...this was possible for someone untrained in mathematics, and especially as a result of my putting forward my own layman's theory which forced me to think through the possibilities."( 1958, M.C. Escher,Regular Division of the Plane) His inspirations came from readings he did on many mathematical ideas and with this knowledge, he created projective geometry, structures in plane, Euclidean

A Brief Biography Of Maurits Cornelis Escher

776 words - 4 pages When admiring the world’s most famous graphic artists there is one that stands out from the rest. M.C. Escher’s works have amazed people around the world for nearly a century. During his lifetime, Escher made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. He is best known for his mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These works feature what seem to be impossible constructions and