Maurits Cornelis Escher • Graphics, 1958, 29.5×46.2 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Graphics
Subject and objects: Landscape, Architecture
Style of art: Surrealism
Technique: Lithography
Date of creation: 1958
Size: 29.5×46.2 cm
Artwork in selections: 23 selections

Description of the artwork «Gazebo»

In 1958, physicist and mathematician Roger Penrose published in the British Journal of Psychology an article about impossible figures, including those that became famous. Penrose's Triangle (which was actually discovered back in 1934 by the Swedish artist Oskar Reutersvard). Later, Penrose, together with his father Lionel, developed a model of an impossible staircase, along which you can either climb endlessly up or descend down, depending on the direction of travel. a number of researchers believe that the Penrose was influenced by some of Maurits Escher's work with geometric shapes that have no place in the real world. And their articles, in turn, inspired Escher to transform impossible geometry into impossible architecture. Thanks to the Penroses, the world saw "Gazebo", "Ascent and Descent" (1960) and "Waterfall" (1961).

Belvedere became the starting point for a new stage in Escher’s work and, according to some art critics, a peculiar metaphor for the artist’s spoiled relations with his wife. Or perhaps an attempt to somehow fix them. Whatever it was, the couple lived together for another ten years, after which Jett left Escher in the Netherlands, where she never liked her, and left to live out her life in Switzerland.

If we consider the engraving from this point of view, then neither the young man holding an impossible cube in his hands, nor the prisoner in the basement, thrusting his head through the bars of the lattice (which cannot be reproduced in the real world), nor the people climbing the ladder to be at the starting point. In this case, the main characters are a man and a woman looking at the surrounding landscape from different floors of the belvedere and deprived of the opportunity to meet, since one of them will always be inside the building, and the other - outside.

The landscape is also important: it depicts mountains in the Italian countryside of Abruzzo. The country in which Maurits and Jett met, got married, and returned to whenever possible, becomes a sad reminder of the past happy days.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova