Wednesday, August 13, 2008

M.C. Escher - Double Planetoid

¤ M.C. Escher's "Double Planetoid" is an illustration of this well known artist that can be found in a number of galleries and collections. We are highlighting it on "The Oldest Escher Collection the Web - Since 1993" "World of Escher" and "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery". "World of Escher" has information on the artist. "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery" has the best and clearest images. "The Oldest Escher Collection the Web - Since 1993" has a good collection as well as links to works inspired by Escher. Please note that we chose to use a larger image for a thumbnail because smaller ones simply do not work for this illustration. (Link to "The Official M.C.Escher Website".)

¤ I'd like to credit my best friend, Darrell Penner, for introducing me to the work of M.C. Escher. After looking at his work for a little while, I realized that all of his shapes on one side of the planetoid are exactly the same as on the other. He takes tremendous care and pride in the fact that everything is symmetrical and drawn like a mathematician.

He is well respected by scientists and mathematicians and I just wonder if it is because of his exactness and attention to detail. I have glanced at some of his other pieces and he manages to put ordinary objects in places where they ought not to be, and somehow yet this still seems to work just fine. So if you are someone that likes symmetrical works of art, then Escher is the man for you.

~ Mags

¤ M.C. Escher's masterpiece, "Double Planetoid" might not seem so impressive to many people today, until they realize it was not done using computer aide. Escher was born in 1898 and died in 1972* and computers were not being routinely used for artwork until well after 1972.

Escher's work was done using techniques of woodcutting and lithography. These processes involve creating a master printing plate or block by hand and printing the piece from that. Each line on Escher's works were originally guided by hand!

Escher's work, like "Double Planetoid" contrasts geometry and nature along with -- in some cases -- optical illusion. He does in this case use optical illusion to create a feeling of depth, but that is something we are very used to. "Double Planetoid" takes two interlocked tetrahedron where one is a fantasy planetoid -- rough and covered with tropical plants; lizard and saurian-like creatures living on the cliff-like structures -- while the second is a fortress a Templer Knight might be proud of -- all tied to an internal point of gravity. The primitive tropical tetrahedron does not connect at all with the fortress tetrahedron but rather the fortress bridges it with arches which emerge from holes on the landscape of the primitive land.

You can see the lithographic lines used to create shading and shape for the print when you look at the full sized work. There is a very different feel between the sort of line used on each of the two tetrahedron.

You really have to view the full sized image from the "Jill Britton's Escher Gallery". At least it is the same size as the prints in the book of prints I bought in my youth, perhaps only a few years after Escher's passing. I have bought few art books in my life, but the book of Escher prints was the first I bought and one of my favourites! This is one of my favourite works as well. ...though I do love the "Curl Up" creature with the "baby feet" that rolls up into the wheel to travel by rolling as much or more...

~ Darrell


* "World of Escher"

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