Besides unbelievably steep stairs constructions that seem to lead nowhere, in the work of Maurits Cornelis Escher we can find an imaginary world with bees and hives, appearing in some of its 400 lithographs and woodcuts and almost 2000 drawings .
M.C. Escher (1898-1972), was a gifted draftsman and skilled engraver. He mixed architecture, perspective and impossible spaces. Besides graphic artist, was an illustrator of books, designer of postage stamps and murals. He created visual games from the observation and study of the forms of reality, and transferred to paper to explore the limits of the flat surface. We were not told much of the meaning of his work and the reason of the images that appealed to him, including honey bees.
Part of the work of the Dutch artist, difficult to classify, we can visit the museum Palais Lange Vorrhout since 2012, in the city of The Hague, in a building, where until recently, worked the kings of Holland.
Flowers, insects and people are the simplest reasons with which Escher started his research in printmaking techniques. It was brought to his drawing in the decade of the 40s of XX century. Simplicity of compositions in which the artist’s interest is to understand the smallest details that make reality.
– Metamorphosis (space-time). The transformation process is concentrated in one of the most emblematic works of Escher, Metamorphosis, where bees become birds, parts checkerboard build buildings and towers enter the chessboard. Escher investigates the mutant cycle of things and geometric division of space, trying to find the invisible bond that holds reality. Inspired by the decorative elements of the Alhambra he will fit fish, frogs, birds, lizards, ants and imaginary beings in the continuity of the paper.
Metamorphosis II. It is a mural painted in 1939 and 1940. The title refers to the gradual transformation from one form into another. A chessboard becomes insects, birds, fish, and finally in the village of Atrani. The original is a woodcut in green, brown and black measuring 4 meters long and 20 centimeters high
A mosaic of black and white squares change into a carpet of flowers and leaves, where two bees have settled and seem to be putting forward their eggs and larvae. The hexagons are those of the honeycomb cells and there´s bee larvae inside.Later bees fly out of their hexagonal cells, initiating the flight and becoming birds.
Metamorphosis III. These bees on flowers are part of a woodcut that Escher added to this work. There are transitions from simple square tiles, which evolve at irregular pentagonal flowers. These flowers attract bees, insects that Escher used as one of the most accurate representations of life.
In 1951 Escher designed a painted -ceiling for company Philips in Eindhoven (Netherlands). Bees appear next to butterflies. Regular and geometric bodies fascinated Escher during his life. He played with polyhedral shapes, contrasting the order and chaos generated when they are around everyday objects or when they are away in the vastness of the universe. With spirals, spheres and other geometric shapes investigated on the projection of three-dimensional space on a flat surface.
Emblemata 1931. His work incribes the hive in his learning of homes in social insects such as ants and bees. The work of Escher during this stage is considered as an approximation and self learning problems symmetry.
We would have liked to ask M.C.Escher by bees, but since it is no longer possible, we will enjoy his work.
To learn more, I M. C. exhibition catalog Escher. The art of the impossible. Canal de Isabel II (2006)