Tower of Babel (M. C. Escher)

Tower of Babel (M. C. Escher)


title=Tower of Babel
artist=M. C. Escher

"Tower of Babel" is a 1928 woodcut by M. C. Escher. It depicts the Babylonians attempting to build a tower to reach God, a story that is recounted in Genesis 11:9. God frustrated their attempts by creating a confusion of languages so the builders could no longer understand each other and the work halted. Although Escher dismissed his work before 1935 as of little or no value as they were "for the most part merely practice exercises", some of them, including the "Tower of Babel", chart the development of his interest in perspective and unusual viewpoints that would become the hallmarks of his later, more famous, work.

In contrast to many other depictions of the biblical story, such as those by Pieter Brueghel the Elder ("The Tower of Babel") and Gustave Doré ("The Confusion of Tongues"), Escher depicts it as a geometrical structure and places the viewpoint above the tower. This allows him to exercise his skill with perspective, but he centred the picture around the top of the tower because that was the focus for the climax of the action. He later commented:


*cite book|title=The Life and Works of Escher|author=Miranda Fellows|publisher=Paragon Book Service|location=Bristol|date=1995|id = ISBN 0-7525-1175-0

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