It’s An Illusion, Part 19 – Circling Into Infinity

Borromean Rings by Theon

Borromean Rings, Face on, Created by Theon

Perhaps it has to do with infinity.  In “Snakes”, M. C. Escher’s last print, the many rings that define the circular shape grow infinitely smaller both toward the middle and around the edges.

Perhaps it’s about wholeness and unity.  Removing one ring would make other rings fall away.  The unity of the whole depends on the wholeness of each ring.

Or perhaps it’s about life’s natural cycles?  Three snakes are looped through the largest rings, and around each other.  They are both connected to and facing out and away from this ring of rings.  Snakes are often used to symbolize regeneration, cycles of birth and death, eternity.

Every ring loops through the ring beside it, as well as through smaller or larger rings above and below – five rings in all.  Each one seems, like the Borromean rings, to both lie flat and loop over and under the other rings.  Each ring changes in size, with the larger side closest to the set of rings the snakes loop through. As the rings grow larger we see them as closer to us; as they grow quickly smaller they seem to move further away.

The interlinked rings and snakes create the illusion of moving through space from infinity to infinity.

This was Escher’s last print.  I wonder what he was thinking about as he worked?


M. C. Escher, Snakes

The Borromean Rings were created by Theon and pictures shared through Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike 3.0 unported license.

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