Periodic Drawings 121-137

DRAWING 121 [FISH/BIRD]
Baarn, May 1964
Ink and watercolour
Related work: A similar pattern occurs in the lower half in a tapestry designed by Escher for the weavers Ed. de Cneudt in Baarn, 1949.

The second of the series of two, of which although this is not stated as having a precursor (as with Drawing 120), the motifs appear on the tapestry (above), and so thus show that it is indeed based upon a preceding drawing.
Although this is not quite of the standard of its ‘cousin’, as the birds underside is somewhat simplified, it nonetheless remains of an inherently high quality.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: Yellow ochre and black. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction 24 November 2006

 

 

DRAWING 122 [FISH]
Baarn, April 1964
India ink, pencil and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Circle Limit I, November 1958 (cat. 429). Circle Limit III, December 1959 (cat. 434).

Oddly, this is numbered after drawing 121 despite the chronology of that succeeding this. A further oddity is that despite an apparent date of April 1964 of devising, the original design was of 1959, when Escher was concerned with 'circle limits', involving a similar motif. Presumably, as these were of some complexity, this took priority over a numbered drawing, this being essentially put aside. Subsequently, possibly influenced by the recent Square Limit motif, he decided to rectify their omission.
In contrast to most of the tessellations where a single example is shown, this is shown on a shared sheet, Escher's way of showing that the tessellations are thus connected, albeit not directly as in the sense of possessing like symmetries, as these are different. More exactly, these are linked by way of both appearing in the
Circle Limit III
print, of which motifs based upon square and equilateral triangles are required, these then being suitably adapted to the framework.
As the fish are of a fanciful nature, they are thus of an inherently inferior quality, as well as tariff.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: blue and yellow. Minor rendition, of a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 123 [FISH]
Baarn, April 1964
India ink, pencil and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Circle Limit III, December 1959 (cat. 434).

The second in the series of two, essentially 'establishing' the motif used in the above print. This was possibly derived from the Pólya diagram D30 (shown in Visions of Symmetry, p. 23), as Escher had 'studied' the outline previously (Visions of Symmetry, p. 26), in 1935. However, against this possibility is the noticeable time span of the intervening years. There again, he may simply have returned to his notebooks for the source.
In style, this is similar to its cousin, of which the motifs are essentially of the same type, duly adapted to square and triangular underlying grids. As the fish remain fanciful, they are thus of an inherently inferior as well as tariff.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, three colours: red, yellow and blue. Minor rendition, with a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005 (further minor comments 20 December 2005)

 

 

DRAWING 124 [LIZARD]
Baarn, September 1965
Ink

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system VIID see 33’, this referring to the motifs outline, as these are somewhat alike, albeit of different tessellation systems. Therefore, despite an apparent connection, as considerable differences do indeed occur, this should thus be regarded as a tessellation in its own right.
Although the motif is fanciful, with the front and rear legs considerably out of proportion to each other, if its shortcomings are duly allowed for, the tessellation is of an acceptable type of its own category.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white (unstated). No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

 


DRAWING 125 [FISH]

Baarn, August 1966
Ink and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Path of Life III, November 1966 (cat. 445).

Escher notes on the drawing ‘IXD* according to the contour’, in relation to the outside line and not the motif.
This is essentially a preliminary study for the above graphic work, and so presumably was composed for that express purpose.
The ‘fish’ motif (possibly derived from drawing 122) is fanciful in the extreme (it could even be described as a bird), of considerable ambiguity, and seen from above, and so consequently of an inherently inferior quality, and well tariff. Possibly, this was due to the demands of the framework of the print, of self-similar tiles, necessitating a motif that would be ‘amenable’ to the process i.e. of a ‘vague’ outline.
Perhaps most of note is an innovation of Escher's here, albeit not of any real significance in this particular instance, whereby the interior has not one but two motifs. However, as both are ambiguous as to the motif they portray, this is of less importance than with motifs of quality, as there is no challenge in composing such examples.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours, with additional red markings: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 126 [FISH/BIRD]
Baarn, March 1967
Ink and watercolour
Related work: Design for tiled column for New Lyceum in Baarn, 1968. Porcelain tiles by Porceleyne Fles (
Delft).

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system with elements from IV and V developed from 109II’ shows that this is derived from that drawing, albeit indirectly, as that consists of a ‘border’ type tessellation. Presumably, a study of sorts for that, based upon a regular division was thus duly adapted. A change has occurred with the interior, as the bird motif is shown in the ‘classic’ view, albeit somewhat simply in detail – whether this is shown as seen from slightly above or below is not certain. Also noted is the symmetry, which Escher could not determine as belonging to one of his established systems, classifying it as ‘system with elements from IV and V’. Additionally, Escher noted a mistake with the eyes, in that as the motifs are coloured in black and white, to be consistent, each should be a counterchange of the other – these are not. This shortcoming was rectified on the commission (above).
The motifs differ in their inherent quality, with the bird motif, albeit not of the highest quality, is of an acceptable standard; in contrast, the fish motif is noticeably inferior, a flatfish, arguably to an unacceptable degree, basically a shape with eyes that purports to be a ‘fish’.
Although Schattschneider (
Visions of Symmetry, p. 72) asserts that this is derived directly from the tiles in his notebook, these cannot be said to be alike in any way, even of a proto nature. More correctly is that this diagram is the source of the underlying framework.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white (unstated). No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor reworking 22 November 2006

DRAWING 127 [BIRD]
Baarn, March 1967
Ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Art and Science, pp. 55-57.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system ID apparently 2-sided symmetric motif’, thereby establishing its non-symmetrical aspect, as at first sight as the drawing does indeed apparently possess a line of symmetry, as possible misunderstanding could arise.
This was probably derived from a tessellation as recreated by Schattschneider (
Visions of Symmetry
, p. 317), of which Escher apparently made minor changes to the outlines that change the symmetry. However, whether this is necessary is a moot point, as the motif Escher has drawn could equally well be applied to the symmetric outline.
The bird motif, as portrayed from above, is fanciful, with the interior detail left extremely sketchy, arguably too much to be acceptable. Consequently, this is thus of an inherently inferior quality.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor reworking 22 November 2006

DRAWING 128 [BIRD]
Baarn, April 1967
Ink and watercolour

A fanciful bird, somewhat of an imaginary nature, with elements vaguely reminiscent of a contrived ostrich. Consequently, this is of an inherently inferior quality.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 129 [FISH/HORSE]
Baarn, July 1967
Ink and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Metamorphosis III, 1967-1968 (cat. 446).

This drawing (and two others, albeit not all used) arose as of a consequence of Escher accepting a commission to extend his Metamorphosis of 1939-1940, the reason for the extension to better suit the dimensions of the room. This necessitated an ‘opening up’ of the previous metamorphosis, and inserting new sections, a somewhat exacting and demanding task, and fraught with difficulty. Examples of this type, of specific demands, are much more difficult to compose, and consequently inferior tessellations often ensue. However, the drawing for the addition stands comparison with his normal work. Indeed, of note is the general good quality of the motifs, with both fish and the horse (albeit of different scales) being instantly recognisable, of the classic (sideways) view. In quality, these differ, the horse being considerably better than the fish, which although is instantly recognisable, is somewhat contrived as regards the fins. Indeed, the horse is particularly impressive, this possibly arising as a change in Escher's design process, whereby a tessellation is built around a given motif (in this instance the horse).

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor reworking 20 December 2005

DRAWING 130 [FISH/HORSE]
Baarn, July 1967
Ink

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system with elements from IV and V’ (this also appearing on Drawing 126), of which this has no type in his notebook.
Although undoubtedly composed for the ‘extended metamorphosis’, this was not eventually used. In style, this is very much like Drawing 129, of the same two motifs, with the horse especially comparable. Likewise, this was possibly built around the horse motif. A noticeable difference between the two drawings is that here the motifs appear in two distinct orientations, and possibly for this feature the drawing was not used, as an attempt at accommodating these orientations would not be a practical proposition, as the motifs on either side of this would have to have some elements pertaining to this somewhat complex arrangement.
Both motifs are of a generally good quality, albeit not ideal. The horse being particularly being good, although a little contrived; the head and neck are disproportionate as to the body, by many factors. The fish is also a little awkward.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 22 August 2012

DRAWING 131 [PENTAGON WITH FLOWER]
Baarn, July 1967
Ink and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Metamorphosis III, 1967-1968 (cat. 446).
Related work: Design developed for tiled column for New Lyceum in Baarn.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system related to VIII. See 42 and 43’, both of which have a similar underlying irregular hexagon, of which this is more explicit, apparently denoted (by white lines) as a by-product of the drawing. This was apparently composed for the purpose of the ‘extended metamorphosis’ (above).
This was one of Escher's few non-animate tessellations, of inherently lower quality, as the (truncated, and so therefore ‘easy’) flower motif was simply placed inside an symmetric pentagon tiling (known as the ‘Cairo tiling’, but not in Escher’s time), with consequently a negative space being formed (as a leaf?). Such types are easy to compose, as the process provides no challenge.
Although not stated, this forms a series of four related drawings of the same theme, 131-134

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 22 August 2012

DRAWING 132 [FLOWER]
Baarn, December 1967
Ink and watercolour
Related work (in regards of commission): See drawings 131, 134 and 136.

Simply stated, a variation of drawing 131. Although Escher had previously recorded where drawings are variations of each other, on this occasion, despite this plainly being directly related to drawing 131, he neglected to do so. Indeed, directly is the operative word, as this repeats drawing 131 in every way, save for a minor colour addition.
This was most likely composed for a commission of tiled columns for the New Lyceum in Baarn, of which a square block below the drawing shows the economic (minimal) way of repeating the design for the column, of which this can thus be mass-produced.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, primarily two colours: black and white with blue and red additions. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction 24 November 2006. Minor revision 22 August 2012

DRAWING 133 [INTERLACED HEXAGON]
Baarn, December 1967
Ink and watercolour

Oddly, Escher chose to number this drawing despite it being the only numbered instance not to contain a representative element to it, and so consequently its inclusion is plainly out of place in their midst.
This is probably related to drawings 131 and 132, in that it repeats the underlying irregular hexagonal grid, with lines (black and white) of considerable thickness, these shown as interlaced, this being similar in style to a drawing (A3) from a considerable earlier period, of 1940.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, three colours: black, white and dark blue. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 22 August 2012

DRAWING 134 [FLOWER]
Baarn, December 1967
Related work: Commission. Design for tiled column for New Lyceum in Baarn, 1968. Porcelain tiles by Porceleyne Fles (
Delft).

This was composed for the commission (above), and is a variation of drawings 131 and 132, the drawing effectively re-orientated so that the flowers are symmetrical as according to the rectangular format of the paper. Additionally, a minor alteration of the flowers has been made, these no longer touching the vertices of the underlying irregular pentagon, albeit they are retained within that framework. Oddly, Escher chose to ‘break up’ the pentagon, for reasons of which are not at all clear.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours, black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 135
No record of this drawing is extant.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 136 [TWO TILE PAIRS]
[Baarn, 1968]
Ink and watercolour
Related work: Design for two tiled columns for New Lyceum in Baarn, 1968.

Oddly, Escher chose to number this despite it essentially being of an ‘instructional nature’ for the purposes of the commission (above). Although this does indeed show representative motifs, these merely repeat those, in truncated form, as square blocks for tiles suitable for manufacture from drawings 126 and 134, and so, consequently, its inclusion was plainly essentially unmerited in the motif collection. P. 318 shows the tiles derived from the drawing in situ as a column.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction 20 December 2005. Minor revision 22 August 2012

DRAWING 137 [GHOSTS]
Laren, May 1971
Ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Art and Science, pp. 63-65 and 144-145.

Escher notes on the drawing that this was ‘made following the system of Prof. R. Penrose’s “jigsaw puzzle”’. This has as its roots dating back to 1962, when Penrose visited Escher at his home and left identical wooden puzzle pieces (Visions of Symmetry, p. 319), and left Escher to find how they tile (of which he succeeded in this task). This piece is of a somewhat more complex nature than with most, it being specially designed to apparently fit together successfully, only to lead to blind alleys where the tile is inadmissible. A few years later, Penrose sent Escher the underlying line arrangement. Oddly, it was not until many years later that Escher returned to this, and composed a representational tessellation based upon the tile. However, the motif is most fanciful, in the extreme, the creature it is portraying being unrecognisable, Escher describing this as a ‘little ghost’. Indeed, such a poor quality motif is unworthy of Escher, presumably acceptable to him only because of the underlying tiling system being so unusual.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, three colours: orange, black and white. In contrast to his preceding drawings, due to the unique arrangement of the tiles, the colouring of this has many possibilities.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Updated: 11 June, 2008
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