It’s An Illusion, Part 13 – The Building That Couldn’t Be

The Impossible Box/Crate

The Impossible Box/Crate

Look closely.  What you see looks like a crate.  Except that something is not right – part of what should be the back looks as if it is in front. You know that is not possible.  It defies logic and confuses the eye.  And yet that is what you see.

At first glance the building in M. C. Escher’s  “Belvedere” looks normal.  Look more closely, particularly at the columns in the middle level.  Where do they begin, and where do they end?  Not where they logically should!  The columns cross from one side of the space to the other, and yet they are vertical and do not interfere with the space between or below.  The upper level, supported by the columns, ought to match the level below.  And yet it runs at right angles to it, leaving space for a ladder to rest on the floor below…

The building, like the crate, defies the laws of construction.  But then we find out that what looks like a real crate is an illusion – for you to see the crate you have to look at the structure from one particular angle.  Take a look:

On paper, Escher used his skills as an artist to deceive our eyes and minds, and make the even more impossible look real.

Both crate and building are illusions that invite us to see as real objects that cannot exist outside our imaginations.  It is a surprisingly seductive invitation.


M. C. Escher, Belvedere

Impossible Box created by Dominique Toussaint and distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


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