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So what is escher art? Escher is a Dutch graphic artist who’s work has been widely used in pop culture. He’s known for his mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. He was also an accomplished classical draughtsman and printmaker in etching and lithography.
Escher’s artwork is always detailed and complex. His fantastic worlds of impossible architecture and unfolding patterns dazzle us with endless new discoveries.
The Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was born in 1898. His work features mathematical impossibilities and optical illusions. He created his art using drawing, woodcutting, lithography, and mezzotint.
He is best-known for his repeating geometric designs, such as those in the lithograph “Waterfall,” the woodcut “Print Gallery,” and the tapestry “Relativity.” Escher’s works feature impossible buildings and bridges; instruments that play themselves; and angels and devils that walk on air or water.
His work is characterized by frequent use of impossible objects, explorations of infinity and tessellations. His work was inspired by artists such as M.C. Esher and Salvador Dali, as well as by mathematicians Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael’s “School of Athens”. Other influences include the architect M.C. Escher (no relation), jazz pianist Dave Brubeck (who wrote a song titled “Maurits Cornelis Escher”), science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, and J.S. Bach’s “The Art of Fugue”.
Escher was born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands in 1898 to George Arnold Escher and his wife Sara Gleichman; he had
Early life and education
Escher was born in Leeuwarden, in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. He was the third child of George Arnold Escher, a civil engineer, and his second wife, Sara Gleichman. He had two sisters, Lillian and Madeleine, and a brother, John. In 1918, the family moved to Arnhem, where he attended primary and secondary school until 1924. Escher briefly attended the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (National Academy of Visual Arts) in Amsterdam; however, he did not graduate.
Escher moved away from home at age 17 when his father’s job relocated to Haarlem. He continued his education at the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts (1924–1926) now known as the Teylers School. In 1922 Escher traveled through Italy, where he was impressed by the Italian landscape and countryside: castles perched on cliffs above the ocean, narrow streets of houses topped by terraces with flowers hanging over them, vineyards on hillsides with Mediterranean cypresses lining up like soldiers. These scenes were later depicted in works such as Waterfall (1948), Towers of Refuge (1960),
If you want to know what the artist Escher was like, you could do worse than read an interview he gave to a Dutch newspaper in 1964. He was 60 years old, and would die two years later, and it shows in his responses.
Toward the end of the interview he says something that might sound strange coming from a guy who spent his life drawing impossible images: “I am not interested in things that are possible. I am only interested in the impossible.”
But Escher wasn’t really an impossible person. He had plenty of interests—in music, math, and philosophy, for example—and he was a normal guy otherwise. What made him unique is that he had an unusual talent for recognizing patterns. You can see this talent at work in his drawings: they are full of patterns that are too complex to have occurred by accident. Some of them have been analyzed mathematically; many more have not.
Fear, I suspect, played a big role in Escher’s ability to see patterns others couldn’t. In the same interview he says “I do feel something like fear when I’m making my drawings.” He goes on to describe how this feeling helps him work: “I don’t think that I’m very good at working spontaneously [without
The characteristics of the human face, which are often reduced to hard and fast rules in art, were more frequently explored and shaken up in Escher’s work. His focus wasn’t on the components of a face (eyes, nose, mouth) but rather on the unexpected arrangements of those components.
His perspective was not limited to a single plane; his figures twist and turn up, down, left and right. He relied on multiple figures to create a scene rather than one figure alone. Faces are often repeated within a scene or are stretched out into multiple reflections in water below.
Escher’s interest was in capturing the essence of the human condition. He did this by using his understanding of math and science to twist space, light and architecture into something that inspires awe.*
Escape is the theme that recurs most often in Escher’s graphic work. He was drawn particularly to the idea of a confined space from which it is impossible to escape. He frequently depicted people who are imprisoned in one way or another, and his feeling for their claustrophobic circumstances is tangible.
Escher’s work is full of paradoxes and illusions; he seems to have been driven to extremes by his fascination with the interplay between reality and illusion, between what we know and what we think we know. He creates situations in which there are two irreconcilable versions of the same reality. In some ways this reflects a deep unease at the very core of Escher’s personality. But it also provides the viewer with an experience that can be both disorienting and liberating, since it allows us to see familiar things in unfamiliar ways.
To fully appreciate Escher’s art, one must realize that the artist did not intend to create a realistic depiction of reality. He was working in an abstract, surrealist style and through his artwork he sought to portray the power of the mind to create imaginary worlds with as much clarity as the real world.
The visual effect is often described as “impossible reality,” since the elements depicted can clearly be seen to exist in impossible relation to one another. Escher often said that his work depicted “the essential nature of things” and he did not mean it as an insult when someone pointed out that his work looked like “a mistake.” He considered the ability to see beyond what is immediately apparent as an important part of the human condition.
Escher’s work is often discussed in terms of tessellations, mathematical patterns formed by repeated unit cells. This is a very basic description of his work and does not do justice to his ideas or his accomplishments. It must be understood that Escher was capable of creating images which are far from regular; many of them depict humans, animals or plants and natural landscapes, which are difficult to analyze using mathematical tools. Nevertheless, there are clear recurring themes in Escher’s art and some mathematicians have found repeating patterns in his work