Saturday, 20 June 2015
THE AMAZING WORLD OF M. C. ESCHER – 10 OF HIS MOST ICONIC IMAGES
17th Jun 2015
His mind-bending images have appeared on album covers (Mott The Hoople), his concepts in films both classic (Labyrinth) and contemporary (Inception), and countless homages to the artist have surfaced on television (The Simpsons, Family Guy) and in video games (Lemmings).
To celebrate this unique contribution to visual aesthetics, the National Galleries of Scotland is set to host the UK’s first ever major retrospective of his work, opening at the end of June.
The Amazing World of M. C. Escher will explore the work of an artist of astonishing ingenuity and originality, a one-man art movement who created some of the most famous and popular images in modern art whilst operating quietly at the fringes of the art world.
Here is a look at some of the works that will be on display, along with interesting facts you might not know about each.
Hand with a Reflecting Sphere, 1935
While Escher made the image of the ‘original selfie’ popular, he certainly wasn’t the first. Fellow Dutchman Pieter Claesz used a glass sphere in his 1625 work Vanitas with Violin and Glass Ball, while Parmigianino painted one of the first ‘reflected’ works way back in 1524.
Arguably Escher’s most famous and reproduced image, this has featured all across popular culture, from the filmsLabrynth and Harry Potter to The Simpsons and Family Guy.
Day and Night, 1938
Day and Night has the largest number of prints made from a single Escher work, with the Dutchman painstakingly making over 650 copies of this work using a little egg spoon made form bone.
Inspired by a mediaeval building in Sicily, this impossible building can only exist on paper.
This image was used for Mott the Hoople’s debut album cover in 1969. Mott The Hoople have admitted they intentionally tried to sound like The Rolling Stones. An interesting coincidence is that earlier that year, Mick Jagger had approached Escher asking him to commission a painting for the cover of the Stones’ upcoming album Let It Bleed. Escher declined.
Circle Limit III, 1959
This piece owes a great deal to the Canadian mathematician and geometer H.S.M Coexter, whom Escher met at the 1954 International Congress of Mathematics in Amsterdam five years before. It shows an astonishing grasp of symmetry and skill, particularly when considering the most miniature shapes have been skilfully cut into wood.
Drawing Hands, 1948
Which hand is drawing which? This work has been cited as an example of a “strange loop” by the author Douglas Hofstadter – a state that arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through a hierarchical system, you find yourself back to where you started.
Bond of Union, 1956
This artwork was partially inspired by a dream by H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel The Invisible Man, where the protagonist is visible having been wrapped in bandages. This is of Escher and his wife.
The waterfall contains two ‘Penrose Triangles’, impossible objects which Sir Roger Penrose designed in 1958. A chap called Oscar Reutersvärd had initially designed the impossible shape back in 1934.
Ascending and Descending, 1960
Sir Roger Penrose was instrumental in the creation of this piece, and Escher’s Waterfall. Penrose and his father Lionel had previously created the staircase, now named the ‘Penrose stairs’. The results of Penrose corresponding with Escher were two of his most famous artworks.
The Amazing World of M. C. ESCHER, 27 June – 27 September 2015, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh. Admission: £9/£7, www.nationalgalleries.org