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The Artist & His Art

M.C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist born in 1898 in the Netherlands. His professional work consisted of  woodcuts, mezzotints, and lithographs.

Likely most of us have come across Escher’s work, whether we know it or not. He is best known for his drawings depicting mind-dazzling optical illusions and his remarkable patterned drawings or tesselations.

Escher’s work was guided by a number of personally held beliefs and his desire to help others to see the world as he did. For example, Escher thought it irrational that we take certain ideas to be irrefutably true, and used his art to encourage us to think about this; blending two and three dimensional objects was one technique he used to this effect.

By 1956 Escher’s work was known world-wide. In particular, he was admired by mathematicians due to the incredible visualization of mathematical concepts depicted in his work, an amazing achievement given that Escher did not study mathematics beyond secondary school.

In the Classroom

Escher’s work represents a great opportunity for teachers to naturally combine art and mathematics through the study of tesselations. Tesselations are repeating patterns which do not overlap and have no gaps, and can be created with the help of geometrical transformations. This image represents an example of such a lesson.



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