Maurits Cornelis Escher • Graphics, 1961, 38.1×29.9 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: 1961
Size: 38.1×29.9 cm
Artwork in selections: 14 selections

Description of the artwork «Waterfall»

Maurits Escher, who presented the world with amazing paintings of “impossible reality”, was one of the most famous artists of the imp-art direction. His works were not always understood by the public, for which they were repeatedly criticized. However, the works of brilliant graphics, without a doubt, belong to the elite art, ambiguous, but always causing interest.

Escher's engravingWaterfall»- the most famous master's work, often quoted, and illustrations with his image can be found even in mathematical textbooks. It is noteworthy that Maurits Escher himself was never a brilliant expert in the exact sciences, either in his youth or in a more mature age. Geometry was not given to him, as, by the way, was not given to drawing - at least, he received mediocre marks on these subjects. Nevertheless, Escher had painting abilities. Subsequently, he graduated from the School of Decorative Arts in Haarlem and came to grips with what attracted him the most: graphics, in particular, woodcut, metal, linoleum.

The painting "Waterfall" is made in the technique of lithography - a technique of flat printing, in which the image is transferred from stone to paper. This work was painted by Escher in 1961, when the artist for more than a dozen years preferred to create works containing complex geometric shapes. The engraving as a method of obtaining an image interested him from his youth: some researchers of the artist's creativity believe that the love of creating identical prints and repetitive drawings began to take shape at his time.

Asher Maurits drew his “Waterfall”, based on the Penrose triangle - one of the main impossible figures, about which in 1958 the famous mathematician Roger Penrose wrote an article. Thus, Escher, who was never a physicist or mathematician, spent most of his life with these sciences and those who dealt with them professionally. He himself said that he should consider himself more a scientist than an artist.

Description of the painting "Waterfall"

Distorted space, deliberately disturbed when depicting clear geometric constructions, the logic of space is those features of the artist’s work that caused delight among mathematicians of the whole world and connoisseurs of art. The plot of Escher's “Waterfall” engraving is built on them - with a quick glance, inaccuracies are not too noticeable, however, on closer examination, the very “impossible reality” that the human brain cannot perceive appears. Following the eyes of the lines, it is impossible to see exactly what the impossibility of the existence of such constructions is, but when we look at the whole picture, the inconsistencies are obvious.

In the painting "Waterfall" the artist depicted two towers, which are two connected Penrose triangles. Between them is the mill wheel, which drives the waterfall itself. It is assumed that the wheel turns the water, rushing down from the top of the tower. Judging by the figure, the same wheel directs the water in a circle upward, which is impossible if we take into account the existing laws of physics. The painting "Waterfall" illustrates a non-existent perpetual motion machine.

As for the other details, they are all depicted with a distorted perspective. Towers, at first glance, the same height, with careful consideration are not. The whole plane, on which water flows, seems to be either horizontal or inclined, depending on the direction of sight.

The effect of the impossibility of the engraving "Waterfall", the brilliant creation of Maurits Escher, is enhanced by the real details depicted on it. The house on the lower right looks quite usual, except for the quirkiness of architecture, there is also nothing strange in the appearance of a woman. Only plants located in the lower left corner are amazing - in shape and size.

Currently, the brilliant work is in The Hague. Here is the Escher Museum, the permanent collection of which includes the most famous works of the artist.