Who ARTed: Weekly Art History for All Ages

MC Escher - Circle Limit 3

March 7, 2022

For this week's episode I talked with David Pittman, an amazing teacher I am lucky to count among my friends. 

We discussed MC Escher and briefly touched on a few of his works including Circle Limit 3 from 1959. Interestingly, while Escher is often associated with math as his tessellations are enjoyed by a number of mathematicians and held up for their beautiful applications of geometry, Escher himself was not the greatest student and even failed his math courses in school. In a somewhat common theme among the brilliant and successful, he persisted and even seemed to lean in to developing his skills in an area where he struggled. 

A big turning point came when Escher traveled to Spain and Italy in the early 20th century. At first, he was captivated by the beautiful Italian landscape, but after touring a 14th-century Moorish castle he started to shift his entire approach to art. Escher made sketches of the tile work and the beautiful tessellated patterns he saw then started to apply that patterning to his work. The great leap that he took, however, was introducing representational imagery to the patterns and having figures that shifted through the piece. In his metamorphosis piece, we see patterns of birds that become cubes that turn into a landscape then chess pieces. It is a little bit surreal, almost like an exquisite corpse drawing as seemingly unrelated images flow from one into the next but with an added layer of complexity because of the patterning. 

As always you can find images of the works we discussed at www.whoartedpocast.com

While you are at the website, cast your vote in this week's matchups for the Arts Madness tournament.

Vote for Round 2 of Arts Madness here.

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