Media and Arts

Self portrait of EscherMaurits Cornelis Escher (1898 -1972)

Even as a young boy,Maurits Cornelis Escher was thoroughly intrigued by graphic techniques.He studied graphic arts at Harlem under Jessurun de Mesquita,and in 1922 moved to Italy,where he settled in Rome two years later.From Rome,he travelled widely throughout Italy,France and Spain and,before settling in Holland for good in 1941,Escher worked in Switzerland for two years and Belgium for five years.

During the decade he spent in Italy,the Dutch born artists explored the options which different graphic techniques made available,and,more often than not,he would choose his subject matter purely on the strength of the technical challenges it presented to his skills as a draughtsman.

Around the time he left Italy,Escher's subject matter underwent a fundamental change.Up until that time his interest had been exclusively in mastering his craft,but now he gave his prime attention to his subjects."Ideas came into my mind quite unrelated to graphic arts." The pictures that now resulted reflected his fascination with the enigmatic laws that governed the world around him:Escher's visual representations expressed the mental images that absorbed him.

Trapped Chameleons

Infinite Waterfall

The above image,which warps perspective and creates a self-sustaining everlasting waterfall,was animated and used as a backdrop to Mike Oldfield's music.

Some of Escher's drawings are based on Lobachevskian non-Euclidian mathematical spaces,or limit circles.

Lobachevskian Space Circle Limit 1

Lobachevskian space

Circle Limit 1

Les parapluies de Verone Circle Limit 4

"Les parapluies de Verone" results from inverting several circles to produce a chain of smaller circles

Escher's Bats and Angels (Circle Limit 4) on Lobachevskian Space

Mathematician Sir Roger Penrose has made use of  Escher's art in his mathematical work,and to produce mathematical games based on the same kind of spaces that Escher employed in his art.