Below I pose a series of questions that I have about various
aspects of M. C. Escher and his works, the answers of which I have been unable
to ascertain. Can anybody throw any light on these?
Why are Escher’s preparatory drawings/sketches that underlie
the genesis of the periodic drawings rarely, if at all, shown? In just about
all publications on Escher, these are notably conspicuous by their absence.
Indeed, most books completely disregard them. As such, the only source for such
material that I am aware of is Visions
of Symmetry by
Doris Schattschneider, who at least does show a few examples, pages 106-108 and
111, albeit even so, only page 111, showing the Horseman drawing,
directly relates to the genesis of that particular periodic drawing. During the
course of designing the periodic drawings, Escher must have composed many
hundreds, perhaps even thousands of such sketches. Therefore, what has become
of this material? Did Escher mostly dispose of such studies upon having completed
the definitive periodic drawing? This seems highly unlikely given his general
approach, with thoroughness in attention to detail and record keeping. Oddly,
in contrast to the paucity of the above material, other preparatory drawings
for Escher's non-tessellating ‘spatial structures’ (such as Depth and Spirals)
are shown in various books in abundance - why such a discrepancy?
Escher frequently derided his mathematical ability, but
beyond vague statements as to his lack of ability, his qualifications are not
categorically stated. Is it possible to equate his school-day qualification to
a present UK or
What books on mathematics did Escher read/own? As such, I am
unaware of any specific book. Although a list of the crystallographic journals
he read is indeed given in Visions of Symmetry, page 337, there is no
equivalent book list, either there, or to the best of my knowledge elsewhere.
Was an inventory (personal or otherwise) made of his books?
Occasionally (specifically of drawings 18, 20-22, 25, 56,
59, 63, 66-67, 71-72, 80, 91 and 96), Escher lightly pencilled an ‘X’ next to
the periodic drawing number (on the left hand side). As such, the denoted
drawings, as regards their symmetry arrangements and/or motifs do not appear to
be connected in any way as may be supposed by such denotation – therefore, what
is its significance?
Possibly related to this is that a similar ‘X’
(albeit circled) appears on two of the drawings (shown in Visions
of Symmetry, page 17) he made upon his second visit to the Alhambra in
1936. Presumably, this was added retrospectively, as he would have had no need
to mark the drawings in this way (as regards apparent cataloguing purposes) for
such ‘early’ work when he was merely copying the tiles. If the 'Alhambra'
and subsequent periodic drawings are indeed thus related to each other in this
matter, then the relationship is not obvious.
Created: 29 March 2010