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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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Netherlands

029

The Escher Museum, The Hague, Netherlands

gkat_029.pdf52° 5 0 N, 4° 18 52 E

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The Escher Museum

The Escher Museum in The Hague truly lets you enter the world of M. C. Escher through its large collection of his artwork and a clever optical illusion.

The museum contains almost all of Escher’s prints, including his famous, never-ending waterfall, hands that appear to draw themselves on the page, and Ascending and Descending, where monks climb an infinite staircase. Escher’s prints of transformation—where tiled fishes turn into birds and other animals metamorphosize into shapes, tilings, or even towns—are on display at the museum, as are rarely seen works such as his lithographs of the Amalfi coast.

For an additional fee, visitors can be photographed in a room that warps the viewer’s perspective is such a way that one visitor appears tiny and the other huge. Because of the way the warped walls are painted, the mind is fooled into misjudging the two heights.

One of Escher’s best-known prints depicts ants crawling around a Möbius strip (a surface with only one side). Much of Escher’s work relies on unusual shapes (like the Möbius strip), impossible shapes (see sidebar), and optical ...

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