M.C. Escher Achieves The Impossible And So Much More

The Amazing World of M.C. Escher, Dulwich Picture Gallery ★★★★★

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 30 months ago
M.C. Escher Achieves The Impossible And So Much More The Amazing World of M.C. Escher, Dulwich Picture Gallery 5
A ghoulish reflection in an eye, the detail on this work is amazing. © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.

Ask people to name an auteur of the art world, and though the likes of Van Gogh, Moore or Turner will crop up, Escher rarely will. Why is that? After all, Escher's works are arguably some of the most recognisable in the world. The problem is, Escher is considered illustrator rather than a fine artist. The aim of The Amazing World of M.C. Escher at Dulwich Picture Gallery is to showcase the full range of his portfolio, re-asserting his position among the artistic greats.

Beforehand we were only familiar with Escher's optical illusory works, yet the first few rooms show him experimenting with Cubism; an abstract work is inspired by dolphins he saw swimming alongside a boat, and the patterns they created on the water's surface.

There are surreal works too; a giant praying mantis atop a sleeping bishop, and mini dragons marching out of a tessellated print before circling back into it. The artist's attention to detail is spectacular in pieces like the depiction of an eye with individual eyelashes perfectly rendered.

No Escher exhibition would be complete without his 'impossible' works. Here day merges into night, the right way up could be any direction and figures are trapped on a never-ending set of stairs.

These works round off a fantastic exhibition highlighting the full range of techniques and styles that Escher could turn his hand to, cementing his reputation as a spectacular artist.

The Amazing World of M.C. Escher is on at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, SE21 7AD until 17 January 2016. Tickets are £14 for adults, concessions available and includes entrance to the excellent permanent collection.

For more illusory work see the exhibition by James Hopkins and don't forget our top picks for autumn, October and our most talked about September exhibitions.

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The impossible staircase just boggles the mind. © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.
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The land becomes the sky and day becomes night, or is it the other way round? © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.
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Faces get stripped into ribbons in this surreal vision, inspired by The Invisible Man who disappears as he removes his bandages. © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.
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A ladder breaks the rules in another image that doesn't come together in our heads. Also note the figure at the bottom holding an impossible cube. © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.
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A perfect drawing of a reflection in a glass ball. © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.
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Recognise this pair of hands? © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved.

Last Updated 14 October 2015