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Ascending and DescendingEnlarge image

Ascending and Descending, March 1960

M.C. Escher
Dutch, 1898 - 1972
lithograph on wove paper
46.1 x 39.2 cm; image: 35 x 28.5 cm
Gift of George Escher, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 1983
National Gallery of Canada (no. 28455)
© Cordon Art B.V. - Baarn - Netherlands. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.

This structure is based on "impossible staircase" devised by the famed twentieth-century psychiatrist, geneticist, mathematician, and chess theorist Lionel Penrose. Escher formulated the structure so that one line of monks is continually descending the stairs while the other line is always ascending; they follow each other in a never-ending spiral that never reaches any destination.

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