Creating Tessellating Art
• Artwork inspired by M.C. Escher
Tessellations are arrangement of shapes that
cover the picture without overlapping and without
Typically, the shapes making up a tessellation
are simple similar regular shapes, such as the
M.C. Escher developed the
tessellating shape as an art form
Escher was a graphic artist, who specialized in
woodcuts and lithographs. Cornelis Escher
He was born Maurits
in 1898, in Leeuwarden, Holland.
His father wanted him to be an architect, but bad
grades in school and a love of drawing and design
led him to a career in the graphic arts.
He was unknown until the 1950’s
But by 1956 he had given his first important
exhibition, was written up in Time magazine,
and acquired a world-wide reputation.
Among his greatest admirers were
mathematicians, who recognized his work as
pictures of mathematical ideas. This was amazing
because he had no formal math training.
Escher saw tile patterns that gave
him ideas for his art work
His interest began in
1936, when he traveled to
Spain and saw the tile
patterns used in the
He spent many days
sketching these tile patterns,
and later claimed that this
“was the richest source of
inspiration that I have ever
The Alhambra is a walled city and fortress
in Granada, Spain. It was built during the last
Islamic Dynasty (1238-1492).
The palace is lavishly decorated with stone
and wood carvings and tile patterns on most of
the ceilings, walls, and floors.
Alhambra consists of palaces
built by several rulers, each had
The Alhambra Palace is a
famous example of
It may be the most well
known Muslim construction.
Islamic art does not usually
use representations of living
beings, but uses
The idea behind several of the buildings of
Alhambra was to create a Paradise on earth.
Escher used the geometry in his
art that he saw at Alhambra
As his work developed, he drew great
inspiration from mathematical ideas he read
about, often working directly from geometric
He was also fascinated with paradox and
"impossible" figures, and developed many
intriguing works of art.
Escher was fascinated by every
kind of tessellation
In 1957 he wrote an essay on tessellations.
Mathematicians, had shown that only the
regular polygons, and hexagon
could be used for a tessellation . Escher used
Sometimes Escher changed the
By “distorting” the basic
shapes he changed them into
The effect can be
both startling and beautiful.