Artworks and Artists
Circle Limit IV (Heaven and Hell)

Circle Limit IV (Heaven and Hell),
July 1960
Escher, M.C.
woodcut in black and taupe on laid japan paper
48.2 x 53 cm; image: 41.9 cm diameter


Escher’s tessellated (mosaic-patterned) works – like Circle Limit IV – made him famous. This technique required the artist to completely and evenly fill a plane with identical, recognizable forms. To achieve this, he studied the laws of geometry and drew inspiration from Moorish tilings and articles on crystallography.

Applying geometric principles to his representation of infinity, Escher proceeded by similarity, which may be simply defined as a transformation changing the size but not the shape of the figure. The figures remain identical, but their size can be reduced. Escher made a number of prints based on this principle.