M.C.Escher exhibition at ArtScience MuseumM.C.Escher exhibition at ArtScience Museum


Exploring Infinity

M.C. Escher’s understanding of mathematics was largely visual and intuitive. His compositions explored errors in perspective, through structures that, at first sight, seemed perfectly plausible, but upon closer inspection turned out to be impossible to create.

In 1954, he started interacting with scientists. This resulted in a vast source of inspiration for his research, mainly on impossible constructions, optical illusions and representation of infinity.

Some of his most famous works: Ascending and Descending, Print Gallery and Relativity highlight M.C. Escher’s attempts to represent the limitless. These masterpieces reflect an essential aspect of his art: its intricate relation to mathematics and endless compositions.


M.C. Escher, Mobius Strip II (also known as Ants)

M.C. Escher
Möbius Strip II (also known as Ants)
Private Collection, USA

In 1960, M.C. Escher was asked by an English mathematician to make a print of a Möbius strip. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being non-orientable, it has only one side and only one edge. Remarkably, it can be cut down in the middle without falling apart.

M.C. Escher, Relativity

M.C. Escher
The Liberty Collection, USA

Through a subtle mix of perspective based on three different points, M.C. Escher managed to have three different worlds sharing the same space creating a strange yet realistic composition.

M.C. Escher, Ascending and Descending

M.C. Escher
Ascending and Descending
The Liberty Collection, USA

To create this work, M.C. Escher was inspired by an article on paradoxical constructions published by Professor L.S. Penrose, a British mathematician and psychiatrist.

In this work, it appears that the monks are on a staircase that is simultaneously ascending and descending, creating one of his most famous, paradoxical constructions.

M.C. Escher, Print Gallery

M.C. Escher
Print Gallery
The Liberty Collection, USA

The Print Gallery lithograph epitomises the intersection of Art and Mathematics. When M.C. Escher completed this work in 1956, he was challenged by the laws of perspective when drawing the picture repeating itself endlessly in its centre. He therefore left the central part of the composition empty. Fifty years later, a team of mathematicians, headed by Hendrik Lenstra -Professor of Mathematics at the Leiden University and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley - finished the drawing after several months of research.