The Impossible Art of M.C. Escher Makes Brains Go BOOM!

Odd Nugget Social-doneKnown for his incredible obsession with patterns and impossible optical illusion drawings, M.C. Escher's work has made math mainstream in art.Circle Limit IV

Escher's interest in art took shape during his formative years as a student. His grades were consistently quite low and he actually ended up failing second grade. He struggled with illness as a child, and it likely crossed over to burden him in his studies. He later elected to study architecture, but failed multiple subjects and switched to decorative arts soon thereafter.

During a period of traveling in 1922, Escher came across complex geometrical patterns in the Alhambra's palatial architecture. This sparked his own interest in such patterns and the underlying mathematic principles of tessellation (surface tiling with geometrical shapes).


"It remains an extremely absorbing activity, a real mania to which I have become addicted, and from which I sometimes find it hard to tear myself away."


He was obsessed with patterns from then on and went bonkers reproducing what he'd seen to absurd levels of detail. The next logical step for him was to create his own, and so he did.

Unlike other artists of his time, Escher's motivations were largely mathematical and perspective-based. Perhaps for this reason, he received such little purely artistic recognition for so long.

Most of Escher's career in artwork went by unnoticed during his life. He tarried on as a relatively popular artist with the public, but an overall unappreciated one in the art world until a first-time exhibition of his previous works at the age of 70.

We've gathered up a bunch of his best pieces below. Check them out!

Mobius Strip Tower of BabelMetamorphosis ISky and Water IBalconyDrawing HandsRelativitySpiralsEscher_Snakes-done

Read our article on Grandma Moses's happy, heartwarming artwork...

This article may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Get Odd Mail!