Periodic Drawings 91-120

DRAWING 91 [BEETLE]
Baarn, September 1953
India ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 42. Regelmatige vlakverdeling (Life and Work, page 164).
Related graphic work: Plate II,
Regelmatige vlakverdeling, June 1957 (cat. 417).

Although somewhat fanciful, with anatomically incorrect ‘stretched’ legs, a beetle-like motif is nonetheless obvious, of which within this concern has good articulation.
Escher briefly commented upon this drawing in the context of a print in
Regelmatige vlakverdeling, using it to make one of three points, in this case about excessive indentations that make the figure less easy to distinguish, regarding this here as ‘borderline’ as to acceptability.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two-tone: light and dark brown. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction and minor additional comments 13 November 2006. Minor revision 14 August 2012

 

 

DRAWING 92 [TWO BIRDS]
Baarn, February 1954
Ink and watercolour
Other related work: Design for intarsia panels in sycamore and mahogany cabinet doors, local telephone bureau,
Amsterdam, February 1954. Pencil and watercolour ‘Right wall, left door, scale 1:3’.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘2 motifs, transitional system IB-IA variant of 87 made for commissioned intarsia work, telephone building Amsterdam, same as 93 and 84’ (see above).
The second of three drawings in the series for the related work as above (intarsia panels), Escher notes on the drawing itself that this is a variation of Drawing 87, retaining the same tessellation system with minor changes to the bird motif, and on this occasion the terminology is apt, as only minor changes have arisen. Possibly this was an attempt at improving upon Drawing 87, although if so intended then there is no detectable difference in their respective qualities.
Oddly, both birds interior contain only a modicum of detail, consisting solely of an eye – quite why he did not add more detail, as was his usual practise is unclear. Another oddity is that upon delineating the motifs with a thin black line, he then added a thicker one to certain parts, the front edge of the wing/head, resulting in a most unedifying drawing. Quite what he was aiming for with this is unclear. Such an effect can also be seen on the variant drawing, No.87. Possibly this is related to the commissioned work, which 'necessitated' showing a 'simplified' motif. However, an earlier, unrelated commissioned work of an intarsia panel with clock for Leiden Stadhuis of 1940 shows the motifs in considerable more detail than here, and so the above remains supposition.

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

Created c. 2005. Updated 13 January 2006 (significant additional comments)

 

 

DRAWING 93 [FISH]
Baarn, February 1954
Ink and watercolour
Other related work: Design for intarsia panels in sycamore and mahogany cabinet doors, local telephone bureau,
Amsterdam, February 1954. Pencil and watercolour ‘Right wall, right door, scale 1:3’.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘contour figures one motif: IIIB made for commissioned intarsia work, telephone building Amsterdam, same as 92 and 84’. The third and final drawing in the series for the related work (above), of which Escher notes the other two drawings.
Although not stated on the drawing itself, this is a variation of Drawing 90 despite appearing at first glance to be unconnected, due to a slightly different tiling systems (IIID and IIIB) and placement of the motif. More precisely, Escher uses the same
outline for the fish, adding a different interior whereby the fish are as seen in a more typical (sideways) viewpoint. Therefore, aesthetically, the fish are thus much better than previously.
Again, as with the above related drawing, the motifs are shown most simply, the only interior detail being an eye and mouth.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: grey and white (unstated). No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Updated 13 January 2006 (additional comments)
 

 

DRAWING 94 [FISH]
Baarn, August 1955
Watercolour
Related graphic work: [Fish, vignette], 1955 (cat. 406).

A somewhat fanciful fish motif, of which as the outlines are so vague it possesses no particular merit.
Perhaps of most interest lies not in the drawing itself but of the white delineating line used, the third and final such usage. As such, there seems no necessity for its inclusion, and so therefore was probably included on a whim. Possibly Escher was experimenting here, as immediate preceding and succeeding drawings have a variety of delineations.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: blue and brown. At first glance, this may appear to have been coloured in a three-dimensional manner, as different coloured areas can indeed be seen. However, this effect is due to the colour pooling, and so is not intentionally three-dimensional. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Updated 13 January 2006 (additional comments)
 


DRAWING 95 [BIRD]
Baarn, August 1955
Ink and watercolour

Escher notes on the drawing ‘exceptional case of IIIA: triangles, see page 4 theory [notebook], bottom left’. Quite what is ‘exceptional’ about this is unclear, it being based upon an equilateral triangle with the simple properties of each side having a centre of 180° rotational symmetry.
The bird motif is not the easiest to discern due to a fanciful colouring scheme of two tones of the same colour, as the contrast is too great, resulting in a patchwork effect of blocks of colour. Even a notable delineation does not improve the discernment. Furthermore, the bird is shown in an unusual viewpoint, in a plan view, of which due to the symmetry of the tessellation results in a most odd effect with the eyes, which although correct are of a somewhat unnatural appearance.

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, minimum, two colours in two tones: dark and light green and purple. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 96 [SWAN]
Baarn, December 1955
Ink and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Swans, February 1956 (cat. 408).
Other related work: Tiled column in the Nieuwe Meisjesschool (New Girls’ School), (renamed Johanna Westermanschool),
The Hague, June 1959. Porcelain tiles, ‘cloisonné’ style, by Porceleyne Fles (Delft). Mural of swans for hall of a building.

A pleasing tessellation, as the motif is not only of a bird but is of a specific genus, namely of a swan.
Below the main drawing is a pencilled sketch whereby both the underlying grid of the swans (a kite) and of Escher's system from which it was derived, IVD. However, for compositional purposes this is unnecessary, as the kites do not require this additional aspect.
Presumably, Escher was pleased with the quality of this motif, as he used it for the above works in no less than four such examples.

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

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

 

 

DRAWING 97 [BULLDOG]
Baarn, December 1955
Ink
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 41.
Related graphic work: Plate IV,
Regelmatige vlakverdeling, June 1957 (cat. 419).

A very pleasing tessellation, that is of considerable quality of a dog motif of a higher tariff of difficulty that is most difficult to accomplish to an acceptable standard (indeed, Escher only composed two such examples, both of high quality).
An additional aspect to this is a subtle innovation of Escher’s own devising concerning ‘dual purpose’ as noticed by MacGillavry. This is shown by the teeth and claws of the dog whereby these alternatively serve a dual purpose, with the black dog having white claws and black teeth, whilst the white dog has black claws and white teeth. This ‘dual purpose’ displays great wit and imagination, and is to be praised.
In contrast to most tessellations where as a rule detail is lacking, the detail here, of apparently the dogs ribs (with four arced lines) somewhat detracts from the tessellation, as this makes the motif less discernable than without. However, such matters do not detract from the inherent good quality.

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, minimum, two colours: black and white. Minor, additional rendering in the form of shading on the dogs can be seen.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 14 August 2012
 

 

DRAWING 98 [REPTILE]
Baarn, December 1955
Ink and watercolour

Although the motif is of an imaginary nature, and therefore of inherently lower tariff, if the limitations of this are accepted, then this is a quite pleasing example of its type, as the motif is roughly in proportion, with full articulation.

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, minimum, two colours: magenta and light brown. Minor, additional rendering in the form of shading to the light brown animals occurs. Strangely, this is not echoed with the magenta coloured ones, or at least is so obvious.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 15 August 2012
 

 

DRAWING 99 [FLYING FISH]
Baarn, August 1954
India ink, pencil and watercolour
Related graphic work: [
Fish, vignette], August 1954 (cat. 398). Plate II, Regelmatige vlakverderling, June 1957 (cat. 417).

Escher notes on the drawing ‘Triangle-system I B2 type 1; see No. 44’, which refers to an earlier usage of the outline (of the same tessellation system), of which a bird motif interior was shown. Such a dual usage is of interest due to the rarity factor of such possibilities, albeit in this case, as the flying fish is inherently weak, it is debatable as to whether the two motifs in combination would be of a high enough standard as to be worthy.
Although the motif of a flying fish occurs here for only the second time, in quality it is somewhat vague, and only recognisable when described as such, the appearance being very much ‘imaginary’ in nature. Consequently, it is thus of less importance than with higher tariff tessellations.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: red and white (unstated). No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 15 August 2012

DRAWING 100 [FLYING LETTER]
Baarn, August 1956
Pencil, ink and watercolour
Related graphic work: New Year’s greeting card for the P.T.T., September 1956.
Metamorphosis III, 1967-1968 (cat. 446).

Escher notes on the drawing ‘Triangle-system I B2 type 1 (for P.T.T.)’ [Postal, Telephone and Telegraph service], this arising out of a commission by the Dutch postal company, of which this thus explains its somewhat nonsensical combination of apparent disparate elements, a letter with wings.
Perhaps of most interest here is that this shows Escher’s imagination at work, as with only a few gentle indentations of a triangle were an appropriate tessellation seen for the commission.

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, two colours: bluish grey and white. Minor rendering in the form of shading to suggest three-dimensions.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005 (typo correction13 January 2006)
 

 

DRAWING 101 [LIZARDS]
Baarn, September 1956
India ink, pencil and watercolour
Related graphic work:
Division, July 1956 (cat. 411).

Escher notes on the drawing ‘Division of system XE drawing see no. 35’, of which Drawing 35 is the source motif, albeit the lizard has undergone a minor change of interior design.
In contrast to nearly all of his numbered drawings, this differs in that the nature of the tessellation is different, being based upon self-similar tiles. Furthermore, even the self-similarity is different, as the lizards are truncated, with elements of the lizards emerging from a lower half. This is probably dictated due to the underlying framework, of which this effect is of necessity, as without it the motifs would not be self-similar. Arguably, as this is so dissimilar to the other numbered tessellations that it should not have been included in the inventory.
As the composition develops from bottom to top, the delineating line can also be seen to gain in thickness in proportion to the size of the motifs; this thus results in a pleasing effect as the motifs are ‘balanced’ appropriately.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, no assessment of if this is the minimum colouring due to the nature of the composition, two colours: dull red and brown. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction13 January 200.) Minor revision 15 August 2012

 

 

DRAWING 102 [RAY FISH]
Baarn, March 1958
Ink
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 64.
Related graphic work:
Path of Life I, March 1958 (cat. 424). Path of Life II, March 1958 (cat. 425).

A somewhat fanciful ‘ray fish’, notably stylised to the degree of essentially unrecognisable, and so consequently of inherently inferior quality. Examples of this type, of essentially unidentifiable motifs possessing eyes to give some credence to a supposed animate form are next to worthless, as no skill is required in their making.
Although the motif is so poor, Escher nonetheless used this for the two
Path of Life prints, which although not necessarily suggesting that these were created specially so, at least points in that direction. Presumably, as this involves a distortion of the motifs due to the reduction process, a motif of ambiguity was thus of necessity, of which this here is exemplarily shows.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white, detail added in red. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 15 August 2012

DRAWING 103 [FISH]
Baarn, April 1959
India ink, coloured ink, pencil and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 80.

This is arguably one of the poorest quality representational tessellations of Escher's, as the animal it portrays is unidentifiable. Although Schattschneider describes this as a 'fish', the motif is unworthy of such an exact identification.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, three colours: red, black and grey. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 104 [LIZARD]
Baarn, May 1959
Ink
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 64.
Related work: Tiled column in the Nieuwe Meisjesschool (New Girls’ School), (renamed Johanna Westermanschool),
The Hague, June 1959. Porcelain tiles, ‘cloisonné’ style, by Porceleyne Fles (Delft).
Escher notes on the drawing ‘system IX variant of 15’, of which this can be said to be of a simplified nature of that lizard (with the same tessellation system), with arcs and straight lines instead of a more detailed outline as previously. However, the lizard is now somewhat distorted, arguably inferior to an unacceptable degree – for example, the legs are misaligned in relation to each other. This would appear to be a backward step; No. 15 appears much better in quality. Quite why he chose to ‘simplify’ is unclear, albeit this was probably influenced by the commission (above), in that less convoluted lines would be ideal for the tiles.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and white (unstated). No Rendition.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 15 August 2012

 

DRAWING 105 [PEGASUS]
Baarn, June 1959
India ink, pencil and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, pages 31-32.
Related Work: Design for tiled façade of the entrance to the Vrijzinnig-Christelijk Lyceum (Liberal Christian Lyceum),
The Hague, December 1959. Cast concrete tiles in two colours; mural 5 x 14 metres (approx.).
Although of an imaginary nature (and therefore of inherently lesser quality as when compared to a real-life creature), the motif quality is quite good, as the resemblance to a flying horse is obvious. However, even so, the proportions can be seen to be unbalanced, with the head and neck far too large for the body. However, a horse motif is of a higher tariff, and so due allowance should be made.
Worthy of note is that this has as its underlying tessellation system a square with two opposite translations, arguably of the simplest possible type, of which this thus shows that more involved tessellation systems are not a prerequisite for quality motifs.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours, reddish brown and white (unstated). Minor rendition, with black outline.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 15 August 2012
 


DRAWING 106 [BIRD]
Baarn, June 1959
Ink and watercolour

Although not a bird motif of the highest quality, and is of undoubtedly simple, stylised nature, this still has much of relative merit. Observe that the wings are anatomically incorrect, tapering top to bottom. Another shortcoming is that the body, which, of necessity, is too close to the tail. To those unfamiliar with bird anatomy these anatomical inaccuracies may pass unnoticed.
Worthy of note is that this has as its underlying tessellation system a square with two opposite translations, arguably of the simplest possible type, of which this thus shows that more involved tessellation systems are not a prerequisite for quality motifs.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: green and white (unstated). Minor rendition, with a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005. Revised 16 August 2012

 

 

DRAWING 107 [FISH]
Baarn, December 1960
Ink and watercolour

A somewhat fanciful portrayal of a ‘flatfish’ motif, as does not possess a tail. Also, the category is of a lower tariff motif. This is obviously of poor inherent quality, essentially undeserving of the title as stated, as it’s nothing more than a shape with fish decoration. Essentially, unworthy of Escher.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: blue and light grey. Minor rendition, with a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 16 August 2012

 

 

DRAWING 108 [BIRD]
Baarn, January 1961
Ink and watercolour

A somewhat fanciful portrayal of a ‘bird’, of which the interpretation could also be applied to a flying fish. Consequently, as the motif is so vague, it is thus of inherently lower quality. Observe that the wings are anatomically incorrect, tapering from top to body. Essentially, unworthy of Escher.
Curiously, a grid is applied that has no connection to vertices.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark green and white (unstated). Minor rendition, with a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 16 August 2012

 

 

DRAWING 109 [CREEPING CREATURE]
Baarn, January 1961
Chalk, ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 64.

Although Schattschneider describes this as a ‘creeping creature’, a bug would surely be more appropriate. Whatever, although not of the highest quality, for an imaginary creature this is of a quite pleasing quality. Furthermore, the eyes could (and indeed should) have been shown in more detail rather than the grossly simplified circles that Escher drew.
Of interest is that it is an example of one of the relatively few drawings in which the outlines consist solely of geometric lines.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: black and light grey. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Last Updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 109 II [FISH; FISH/BIRD]
Baarn, February 1961
Watercolour and ink

Escher notes on the drawing ‘design for 126‘, this referring to a subsequent drawing (1967) using the motifs of the right hand side column.
In contrast to most of the drawings of an implied infinite nature, this concerns itself solely with two examples of border designs, effectively a one-off, as no further drawings portray this aspect. Although this does indeed repeat an idea from an earlier period, from 1950-1953, there is no apparent reason for such a brief return and departure. Schattschneider asserts that it is likely as a decoration of a government office for which Escher had previously designed a ceiling.
As the design consists of two columns, these are designated A and B for discussion purposes:
A. Escher here shows a relatively acceptable standard of fish, albeit of a fanciful nature. Perhaps of most interest is in the portrayal, as he apparently shows the fish as seen from both above (green) and below (magenta). However, although this is a pleasing concept, a combining of views, aesthetically this falls short as the below fish is not readily identifiable due to the unusual view.
B. Escher here combines two distinct motifs, of a related theme, of birds and fish. However, as both motifs are somewhat simplified, and furthermore of differing quality, with a bird motif of a acceptable standard, the flatfish motif in contrast is most poor, barely of any resemblance, effectively of an unacceptable degree of standard.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark green and magenta. Minor rendition, with a black outline.
Last updated 14 November 2005.Typo correction 24 November 2006
 

 

DRAWING 110 [BIRD/FISH]
Baarn, June 1961
Ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 22.
Related work: Design for ceiling, office of the Secretary-General, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,
The Hague, October 1962. Painted in eleven shades on vellum, 4 x 6 metres.

This was probably composed for the express purpose of a commission (above). As this consists of birds and fishes, contrasting motifs with a connection, such examples are usually of more than normal interest. However, in this example the flatfish motif is most fanciful, essentially unrecognisable, and so consequently the tessellation is of an inherently inferior nature. Indeed, the fish is so poor that this is unworthy of Escher. However, as Escher used this for the commission, he presumably must have been satisfied with its quality.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours; green and yellow. No rendition.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

 

 

DRAWING 111 [FLYING FISH/BIRD]
Baarn, January 1962
Pencil and watercolour
Concept drawing:
Visions of Symmetry, page 314.
Related work: Design for painted concrete column, Provinciale Waterstaat en Planologische Dienst (Provincial Bureau of Water Management and Planning),
Haarlem, March 1962.

In contrast to most of the tessellations where each is of an ad hoc purpose, the following four drawings are all interrelated, composed specifically for the commission (above), of which a series of creatures and motifs each possessing a water theme are combined in a vertical metamorphosis. Furthermore, an additional restriction for the sake of aesthetics was that the motifs were to be in an upright orientation. Typically, examples of this type, of a whole host of such ‘specifics’ are of an inferior nature. However, although the motifs may not be of the absolute highest quality, they remain of a more than acceptable standard. Consequently, although ideally each tessellation would be judged according to their own merits, their comments cannot effectively be separated, as each has implication for the others.
Both motifs are of a relatively pleasing standard, albeit the flying fishes wings are an anomaly in terms of their perspective, as the nearer wing is more foreshortened than the further one. Also, the bird’s wing is anatomically incorrect.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark brown and off-white. Minor rendition, with a sepia outline, this being repeated on the columns.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 16 August 2012

 


DRAWING 112 [FLYING FISH/BOAT]
Baarn, January 1962
Pencil and watercolour
Concept drawing:
Visions of Symmetry, page 314.
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 5.
Related graphic work:
Metamorphosis III, 1967-1968 (cat. 446).
Other related work: Design for painted concrete column, Provinciale Waterstaat en Planologische Dienst (Provincial Bureau of Water Management and Planning),
Haarlem, March 1962.
This is probably derived directly from Drawing 111, as both of the respective underlying grids are identical, and furthermore the outlines can be seen to be broadly alike, of which the flying fish has been retained, whilst due to the changes thus made the previous bird is now a boat, of a simplified nature.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark brown and off-white. Minor rendition, of sepia outline.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Typo correction13 January 2006
 


DRAWING 113 [FISH/BOAT]
Baarn, January 1962
Concept drawing:
Visions of Symmetry, page 314.
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 5.
Related graphic work:
Metamorphosis III, 1967-1968 (cat. 446).
Other related work: Design for painted concrete column, Provinciale Waterstaat en Planologische Dienst (Provincial Bureau of Water Management and Planning),
Haarlem, March 1962.
This is possibly derived from Drawing 112, as the boat, although significantly changed, still broadly retains the preceding outline.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark brown and off-white. Minor rendition, with a sepia outline.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 114 [FISH/FROG]
Baarn, January 1962
Concept drawing:
Visions of Symmetry, page 314.
Related work: Design for painted concrete column, Provinciale Waterstaat en Planologische Dienst (Provincial Bureau of Water Management and Planning),
Haarlem, March 1962.
Whether this was derived from a previous drawing (No.113), as the others in the series appear to be is difficult to say, as although the fish is broadly alike, significant differences nonetheless are evident. The frog is pleasing, albeit of surface decoration as concerns the hind leg.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark brown and off-white. Minor rendition, with a sepia outline.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor reworking 13 January 2006
 

 

DRAWING 115 [FLYING FISH/BIRD]
Baarn, March 1963
Ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 7.

This is the first in a series of four (possibly only three?) drawings that Escher drew for a book by Carolina H. MacGillavry, Symmetry Aspects of M.C. Escher's Periodic Drawings. Upon inspecting Escher's drawings, MacGillavry requested examples of missing symmetries, of which Escher then provided appropriate drawings (detailed above in my essay An essay on M.C. Escher's 1-137 Numbered Drawings An Introduction, 2.9, The 1940-1941 Notebooks and Tessellation Systems).
Essentially, this drawing is unworthy of Escher as the motifs are most poor in quality, with the bird motif somewhat spindly and an unnaturally twisted head, whilst the ‘flying fish’ is barely recognisable - it could equally be regarded as a bird. Consequently, such poorly defined and unrecognisable motifs are of an inherently lower quality, so much so that these are to be regarded as unacceptable.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: dark reddish brown and off-white. Minor rendition, with a black outline.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 116 [FISH]
Baarn, April 1963
Ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 116 and Art and Science, pages 116-117.

The second in the series of four, which Schattschneider describes the motif somewhat generously as a ‘fish’. As these are of a barely identifiable motif, they are obviously of inherent lower quality, and tariff, essentially unworthy of Escher.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: blue and yellow. Minor rendition, with black outline.
G.C. Shephard (above) discusses the mathematics of the coloration, giving examples with three and four colours.
Created c. 2005. Last updated 14 November 2005
 

 

DRAWING 117 [CRAB]
Baarn, April 1963
Coloured pencil, ink and watercolour
Discussed in:
Symmetry Aspects, page 50.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system IIC* symmetrically two-sided; improvement of 40’ (of the same tessellation system), presumably due to the improved rendering which is noticeably more detailed than previously.
The third in the series of four drawings, of which the motif is more readily identifiable, albeit oddly the eyes are shown in an anatomically incorrect position on the top of the shell. Aside from the eye aspect, this is of high quality, due to the high tariff of difficulty, the creature consisting of many thin and spindly aspects, notoriously difficult to accomplish.

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, minimum, two colours, dark blue and pink. A high quality rendition, with appropriate shading.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 20 August 2012

 


DRAWING 118 [LIZARD]
Baarn, April 1963
Chalk, ink and watercolour

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system XE colour variant of 35’ (of the same tessellation system), of which an increase of colours from two to four occurs. Additionally, although unstated, the motifs outlines have been altered, of a now somewhat angular nature, along with the interior changes, of which the eyes are placed on the top of the head and a vague curved line suggestive of a mouth. Oddly, the changes result in an inferior motif in comparison. However, in this instance, he was apparently not too concerned with the motif per se, but more to do with the colouring, deliberately choosing a more complex scheme to better suit the tessellation. To show this to advantage, a larger number of motifs was thus required, of which a series of interlacing coloured circles arises.
Although this is the probable fourth drawing in the series, this is only surmised by date, as all four drawings are of the same period. Although this repeats an existing symmetry, it has a noticeable colour variation and so consequently was almost certainly intended for Carolina H. MacGillavry. However, this was not included (of which oddly its predecessor was, drawing 35, Plate 25).

Coloration and Rendition
Three-dimensional, non-minimum, four colours: red, green, yellow and dark grey. Minor rendering, of the spine and legs. In contrast to nearly all of the tessellations, where colour schemes were essentially neglected, this was more explored, as noted above.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005

DRAWING 119 [FISH]
Baarn, February 1964
Ink and watercolour
Related work:
Square Limit, April 1964 (cat. 443).

A somewhat fanciful fish-like motif, of considerable ambiguity, atypically as seen for above, and so consequently of inherently lower tariff. This was possibly composed for a specific purpose, namely that of an appropriate ambiguous drawing that would be amenable to the demands of reduction in scale and deformity for a concept of a similar tiling of Escher's own devising that he termed as a ‘square limit’.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: reddish brown and light grey. Minor rendition, with a black outline.

Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005. Minor revision 20 August 2012
 

 

DRAWING 120 [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.

Escher notes on the drawing ‘system IC-IC variant of nos. 29 and 84’ (of which incidentally 84 is itself a variant of 29), referring to the motifs and not the tessellation system, which is different. However, although the two drawings as noted can be said to be precursors of this, the bird and fish motifs are sufficiently different as to be regarded as distinct in their own right. Both motifs are of a high quality, these being shown in the classic (sideways) view, of which the outlines are unambiguously bird and fish-like.
Although unstated, this is the first in a series of two drawings, shown alongside another drawing in the same style as a shared sheet, of which the connection is obvious. The most likely reason for this unusual occurrence is that Escher had received a commission for the Pakket Postgebouw (parcel post building) in Amsterdam, of which a horizontal metamorphosis between the two was envisaged (hence thus shown together), somewhat similar to the vertical tapestry of 1949.
Curiously, in the lower right a rectangle apparently shows the underlying drawing before the colour was applied, albeit quite why Escher shows this (and furthermore is shown on both drawings) is unclear. However, as a by product, the way Escher went about colouring this (and so presumably other appropriate drawings involving a black motif) is revealed, as on the top left hand side of the rectangle traces of the underlying (yellow) coloration can be seen, from which it is thus possible to surmise that he first added this as a broad swathe. This was then followed by the black, these being added in an individual manner. Presumably, this was in the interests of time saving, as such a process can accomplish a colouration en masse, rather than the more time consuming individual way.

Coloration and Rendition
Flat, minimum, two colours: Yellow ochre and black. No rendition.
Created c. 2005. Updated 14 November 2005, 11 June, 2008
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