M.C. Escher’s Mind-Bending Mathematical Prints Now Available Online

Today, you can find a wealth of optical illusion art with the click of a mouse. Before interactive videos and animated gifs, however, there was the mind-bending work of M.C. Escher, a Dutch graphic designer known for marrying mathematical precision with surreal subject matter. In an effort to further familiarize audiences with his avant-garde work, the Boston Public Library has recently digitized its collection of Escher prints, allowing users to explore each perplexing piece like never before.

The Boston Public Library has made its eye-catching collection of M.C. Escher prints available online.

Featuring woodcuts, lithographs, and wood engravings, this selection of Escher artwork offers a glimpse into his bigger body of work. The experimental prints incorporate a range of the artist's interests, including impossible architecture, dream-like animals, eye-catching portraiture, and hypnotizing patterns. In each case, Escher constructs a complex image that is both rooted in realism and inspired by his imagination.

“I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in a chaos without norms, even though that is how it sometimes appears,” he explains in Escher on Escher: Exploring the Infinite. “My subjects are also often playful: I cannot refrain from demonstrating the nonsensicalness of some of what we take to be irrefutable certainties. It is, for example, a pleasure to deliberately mix together objects of two and three dimensions, surface and spatial relationships, and to make fun of gravity.”

See all digitized prints on the Digital Commonwealth website.

Now, thanks to the digitization project, you can click, scroll, and zoom your way through a world-class gallery of the artist's work.

Boston Public Library: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
h/t: [Open Culture]

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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