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Tower of Babel

Print, 1928, 38.6×62.1 cm

Description of the artwork «Tower of Babel»

The famous legend from the Book of Genesis has always worried the minds of artists. Before Escher, one of the most famous images of the Tower of Babel was painting by the Dutch painter Peter Bruegel the Elder.
Escher, by the way, is often compared to Bruegel: in particular, due to the fact that both were schedules, traveled around Europe along a very similar route and even possessed external similarities. It is not known whether, under the influence of Bruegel, Escher created his own in 1928 "The Tower of Babel", but in the end his engraving turned out to be in no way inferior to the paintings of the famous Dutch in skill and monumentality.

According to the testimonies of Escher's relatives and friends, he had suffered from a kind of mental disorder since childhood. Maurits had an inexplicable passion for heights, experiencing almost religious ecstasy when looking up at a tall building or elevation. With age, this feature, if not disappeared completely, then smoothed out. But forever remained in his engravings. Many of his works, starting from the Italian period (1, 2), depict landscapes or buildings, seen and captured from a very high point. The same applies to the "Tower of Babel".

Escher imprinted the tower at the moment when construction reached its highest point. The curved lines in the background create a sense of movement around the building. The higher the viewer's gaze rises, the more details can be considered, even the facial expressions of confused people.

Later, the artist told: “Some builders are white, others are black. Work stopped because they lost the ability to understand each other. To open the view to the culmination of drama on the top of the tower under construction, the building is shown from above, as if from a bird's-eye view. ”. But here, Asher seems to be a bit of a goof. Considering the height, according to the legend, the Tower of Babel reached this point, it would be more logical to assume that the viewer sees it rather from the point of view of God himself.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

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Art form: Print

Subject and objects: Architecture, Religious scene

Style of art: Surrealism

Technique: Woodcut

Date of creation: 1928

Size: 38.6×62.1 cm

Artwork in selections: 15 selections

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