Wood engraving in black, brown and blue-green, printed from three blocks.
Two and Three Dimensions
Doric Columns and Three Spheres I represent the interplay between something we “see” as three dimensional when, in fact, it is two dimensional.
In Doric Columns, both columns are entirely two dimensional; in other words, they are flat strips of paper with “column” features drawn onto them. To emphasize this, each strip is folded so that it runs behind the other. The top right corner shows the top of the left column behind the base of the right column. The flat strip then turns ninety degrees to run along the wall. Escher demonstrates that it is only when we see the two dimensional strip at the correct angle (the bottom left for the left strip) does it actually appear three dimensional.
Three Spheres I teaches the same lesson. The top “sphere” is merely a two dimensional round piece of paper shown at the correct angle. Immediately below it is that same paper folded in half. The bottom image is the same paper lying flat on a table top.
Lastly, in Magic Mirror, the two dimensional figures arise out of the paper to become three dimensional. The mirror is a two dimensional reflection of a three dimensional object. In this case the reflected creatures magically continue into a world behind the mirror only to circle back into the flat paper.