We know that things closer to us seem to be larger, and those further away seem smaller. We also know that the same thing seem from further away is not really smaller – the change in size is an illusion caused by distance.
Artists found ways to recreate the illusion. They developed and used theories of perspective. It’s a familiar idea now, choosing a vanishing point, inside or outside the picture and using it to establish the lines along which objects will grow smaller.
One vanishing point works best for one set of surfaces along one dimension. For objects with surfaces that are oriented in different directions artists use more than one vanishing point. Together they make the image created look more real.
Escher used vanishing points to play with our expectations. In “High and Low” he uses five different vanishing points to create different perspectives in different parts of the picture. We find ourselves looking down at one part, looking up at another. In “Other World” he shows us the same image from below, from above and straight on. Nothing like real life!
He built one illusion on top of another…