Life (& Art) in Perpetual Motion (Escher)

Cher’s Famous Art

21 November 2020


M.C. Escher, 1961, Dutch

Graphic art; Surrealism

Life in Perpetual Motion

Life today seems to be in perpetual motion, continuous, unceasing: the election, the pandemic, social distancing, wearing masks, the weather . . . life just seems to flow along with no real beginning and no real end . . . with a waterfall plunked in here and there, only to start the same flow over again.

“Waterfall” Perpetual Motion

This week, I decided to showcase one of my favorite pieces by M. C. Escher.  “Waterfall” portrays a perpetual motion machine where water from the base of the waterfall appears to run downhill along the water path before reaching the top of the waterfall to begin again.  There is no beginning, no end.  It strangely reminds of me of life right now during the worldwide pandemic; no real beginning, no real end…with a waterfall plunked in here and there, only to start the same flow again.  I love Escher’s work as it causes me to look, to think, and always to be amazed. 

Escher’s Art

Escher made mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints in the mid-20th century in styles of Op art, Surrealism, Expressionism, Realism, Cubism and Modern.    They are always fascinating . . .and they always cause me look, think and be amazed. And they provide a break in Life’s Perpetual Motion!

Favorite Escher

Below I’ve included some of my favorite works by Escher. For further discovery, just Google search Artworks by Escher–and prepare to look, to think, and to be amazed!

Drawing Hands” “Bond of Union” “Relatively Lattice” “Hand with Reflecting Sphere

Drawing Hands” 1948, surrealism, allegorical, lithograph

“Drawing Hands” is one of his most famous and shows Escher’s common use of paradox.

Another example of our lives today which often seem to combine contradictory features or qualities.

Bond of Union” by Escher; 1956 Surrealism, Symbolic

“Bond of Union” – and you thought your head was spinning!

“Relatively Lattice” by Escher, 1953, Surrealist, capirccio

This intriguing concept is known as the Penrose stairs or Penrose steps (also dubbed the impossible staircase), is an impossible object created by Oscar Reutersvärd in 1937 and later made popular by Lionel Penrose and his son Roger Penrose, expanded here by Escher. Check out the various routes up and down the stairs–and what awaits on each of the landings!

“Hand with Reflecting Sphere” by Escher 1935, Surrealism, Self-portrait

“Hand with Reflecting Sphere” is a Escher Self-portrait. (I’ve tried drawing self-portraits looking in a mirror; this takes it to a whole new level!)

ARMCHAIR TRAVEL TIPS: No obvious travel tips today other than the view from your armchair! Watch for situations and advertising that parodies off of Escher’s work in film, television, video games, music and more. Once you recognize his style, you will find you cannot escape it in the world!

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