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Get Lost in the Math of M. C. Escher

MOS exhibits blowups of mind-bending artworks

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M. C. Escher’s Reptiles shows a tessellated pattern of reptiles.

With 16 enlarged, high-quality reprints, the Museum of Science beckons visitors this summer to navigate the so-called impossible structures of Dutch-born artist M. C. Escher.

The exhibition, which runs through September 6, offers an intimate look at the ways that Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) used mathematical concepts to create confounding worlds, such as the dizzying atrium in Up and Down, and the creepy lizards of Reptiles, which emerge from and disappear back into an artist’s drawing pad. Other reprints on display include Sky and Water, Other World, and Ascending and Descending.

As an artist, Escher didn’t fit in with the 20th-century avant-garde movement, but he attracted the interest of mathematicians, who recognized in his images concepts like infinity and symmetry. The exhibition features several hands-on activities that invite visitors to explore some of Escher’s favorite optical phenomena, such as tessellations and sphere reflections. For visitors who dare, the museum offers an opportunity to attempt a similar drawing themselves.

Admission is included with regular exhibit halls entry: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (60+), and $17 for children (3-11). More information is available here or by calling 617-723-2500, (TTY) 617-589-0417.

Susan Seligson can be reached at sueselig@bu.edu.

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