History of Art #22 – Escher

School was closed for two days this week for Rosh Hashanah so my kids were home and we could crack on with our History of Art project.  It has had to extend beyond the summer break but hopefully we can get it finished up before Thanksgiving.  I ran a project on the 50 states of America a few years ago that was supposed to last the summer but which went on for months.  Clearly I have a tendency to over-plan learning activities with my kids.

MC Escher was the subject of our next lesson.  The boys really enjoyed looking at Escher’s art work.  They oooohed and aaaahed over how clever each piece was and marveled at the skill of the composition.  It would have been just shy of impossible to teach the kids how to create an optical illusion type piece – especially given that I could never accomplish such a feat – so we chose to focus instead on Escher’s use of tessellation.  We looked at several examples and different types of tessellation – rows of tiles, flipped and rotated – and I demonstrated a simple way to construct a tile through removal and addition of elements from a geometric shape.  It was a little too close to a Math lesson for some tastes.  My 9 year old opted out.

Can you guess what my oldest tessellated?  Yup, rows of rainbow coloured penguins.

22 - Escher - AB

My 8 year old came up with a shape for his tile and then decided that it looked like a robot head.  You can detect the influence of Baymax from ‘Big Hero 6’ in the way he has drawn the eyes.

22 - Escher - E

My 6 year old created an arrow tile but, once he had lined them up on his page, he decided they looked like a shoal of fish so he turned them into striped fish.

22 - Escher - AR

I liked the shoals of fish idea too so I constructed a fish tile and used it in my art journal, using watercolour to colour them in.

22 - Escher - Laura

My pack of Escher bunnies is over at my other blog.

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11 thoughts on “History of Art #22 – Escher

  1. Anything to do with fish, I’m there!
    Very cool to see different ages translate art. A long time ago I was invited to participate in a project in Greece where school children looked at a piece of my art, talked about it then wrote about it. Is this along the lines of what your children are experiencing in their education?
    Faith

    • This particular project is really about exploring the work of particular key artists in close to chronological order. We discuss each artist’s work, looking for key features, sharing opinions and interpretations, and then we get creative and each construct a piece of art inspired by an aspect of that particular artist’s work.

      When I was teaching High School English, I organized a joint project with the art department whereby the students wrote an analysis of a work of art in their art class and then created a piece of creative writing in response to the same artwork in my English class. That sounds akin to what you did in Greece. I think any project that gets kids interpreting, exploring, discussing and learning to have confidence in developing their own perspective and opinions is fantastic. That’s when academics meet life skills.

      Thank you for your lovely, engaging comment.

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