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Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index E > M.C. Escher Quotes

M.C. Escher
(17 Jun 1898 - 27 Mar 1972)

Dutch artist and illustrator who is famed for his many works of modern art with inventive optical illusions of perspective and intricate tessellations, and inspirations from mathematics.

Science Quotes by M.C. Escher (24 quotes)

Are you sure that a floor cannot also be a ceiling?
— M.C. Escher
From article 'On Being a Graphic Artist' in 29 Master Prints (1983), 7, as quoted and cited in Maurits Cornelis Escher and Doris Schattschneider, A Mathematician Views Escher: An Exhibition of Original Works by M.C. Escher (1987).
Science quotes on:  |  Ceiling (5)  |  Floor (20)  |  Reality (261)

At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Enthusiasm (52)  |  Great (1574)  |  Important (209)  |  Moment (253)  |  Seem (145)  |  Something (719)  |  World (1774)

By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analyzing the observations that I had made I ended up in the domain of mathematics.
— M.C. Escher
In M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work (1978), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Analyze (10)  |  Confront (17)  |  Consider (416)  |  Domain (69)  |  End (590)  |  Enigma (14)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Observation (555)  |  Surround (30)

Chaos is the beginning, simplicity is the end.
— M.C. Escher
Letter (1950) to Ocy Tjeng Sit, as quoted in Maurits Cornelis Escher and ‎J.W. Vermeulen (ed.), Escher on Escher: Exploring the Infinite (1989), which is requoted in Michele Emmer and ‎Doris Schattschneider, M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (2007), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Begin (260)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Chaos (91)  |  End (590)  |  Simplicity (167)

He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.
— M.C. Escher
In M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work (1978), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Discover (553)  |  Wonder (236)

I am always wandering around in enigmas.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Enigma (14)  |  Wander (35)

I believe that producing pictures, as I do, is almost solely a question of wanting so very much to do it well.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (578)  |  Do (1908)  |  Picture (143)  |  Produce (104)  |  Question (621)  |  Solely (9)  |  Want (497)

I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Entire (47)  |  Fill (61)  |  Life (1795)  |  Print (17)  |  Second (62)  |  Work (1351)

I don't grow up. In me is the small child of my early days.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Child (307)  |  Early (185)  |  Early Days (3)  |  Grow (238)  |  Grow Up (6)  |  Small (477)

I don’t use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough.
— M.C. Escher
As given, without citation, in G. Kleiser, Dictionary of Proverbs (2005), 77.
Science quotes on:  |  Dream (208)  |  Drug (57)  |  Enough (340)  |  Fright (10)  |  Use (766)

I play a tiresome game.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted on the website mcescher.com, without citation.
Science quotes on:  |  Game (101)  |  Play (112)  |  Tiresome (2)

I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, and not in a formless chaos, as it sometimes appears.
— M.C. Escher
(1965). As quoted in Michele Emmer and ‎Doris Schattschneider, M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (2007), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (118)  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Chaos (91)  |  Formless (4)  |  Live (628)  |  Orderly (38)  |  Print (17)  |  Sometimes (45)  |  Testify (5)  |  Try (283)  |  World (1774)

It has always irked me as improper that there are still so many people for whom the sky is no more than a mass of random points of light. I do not see why we should recognize a house, a tree, or a flower here below and not, for example, the red Arcturus up there in the heavens as it hangs from its constellation Bootes, like a basket hanging from a balloon.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted in J. L. Locher, Escher: With a Complete Catalogue of the Graphic Works (1982), 113.
Science quotes on:  |  Arcturus (4)  |  Balloon (15)  |  Basket (7)  |  Below (24)  |  Constellation (17)  |  Do (1908)  |  Example (94)  |  Flower (106)  |  Hang (45)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  House (140)  |  Improper (3)  |  Light (607)  |  Mass (157)  |  More (2559)  |  People (1005)  |  Point (580)  |  Random (41)  |  Recognize (125)  |  Red (35)  |  See (1081)  |  Sky (161)  |  Still (613)  |  Tree (246)  |  Why (491)

My work is a game, a very serious game.
— M.C. Escher
Epigraph, without citation, for the entry, 'Escher, Maurits Cornelius (1898–1972)', in David Darling, The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno’s Paradoxes (2004), 107. Although widely seen feral on the web, Webmaster has so far found no satisfactory primary source. Can you help? Compare the text in Maurits Cornelis Escher, The Graphic Work of M. C. Escher (1978), 14, in which the commentary refers to the image as a game: “This inward or outward turning, this inversion of a shape, is the game that is played in the two following prints.”
Science quotes on:  |  Game (101)  |  Serious (91)  |  Work (1351)

So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us, for my part at the stars; amen.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted, without citation, on the mcescher.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Amen (3)  |  Below (24)  |  Climb (35)  |  Mountain (185)  |  Pull (43)  |  Star (427)  |  Stars (304)  |  Step (231)  |  Try (283)

The ideas that are basic to [my work] often bear witness to my amazement and wonder at the laws of nature which operate in the world around us.
— M.C. Escher
In M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work (1978), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Amazement (15)  |  Basic (138)  |  Bear (159)  |  Idea (843)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Nature (72)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Operate (17)  |  Witness (54)  |  Wonder (236)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1774)

The things I want to express are so beautiful and pure.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted, without citation, on the mcescher.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Express (186)  |  Pure (291)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Want (497)

The world in which we live is a hopeless case. I myself prefer to abide in abstractions that have nothing to do with reality.
— M.C. Escher
(Jan 1967). As quoted in Michele Emmer and ‎Doris Schattschneider, M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (2007), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Abide (12)  |  Abstraction (47)  |  Case (99)  |  Do (1908)  |  Hopeless (16)  |  Live (628)  |  Myself (212)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Prefer (25)  |  Reality (261)  |  World (1774)

There are young people who constantly come to tell me: you, too, are making Op Art. I haven’t the slightest idea what that is, Op Art. I’ve been doing this work for thirty years now.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted, without citation, on the mcescher.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Doing (280)  |  Idea (843)  |  Making (300)  |  People (1005)  |  Tell (340)  |  Work (1351)  |  Year (933)  |  Young (227)

There is something breathtaking about the basic laws of crystals. They are in no sense a discovery of the human mind; they just “are” — they exist quite independently of us.
— M.C. Escher
(Jan 1967). As quoted in Michele Emmer and ‎Doris Schattschneider, M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (2007), 102.
Science quotes on:  |  Basic (138)  |  Breathtaking (4)  |  Crystal (68)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Exist (443)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Mind (128)  |  Independently (24)  |  Law (894)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Sense (770)  |  Something (719)

To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted, without citation, on the mcescher.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (191)  |  Calm (31)  |  Do (1908)  |  Life (1795)  |  Peace (108)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Understand (606)  |  Wait (58)  |  Wise (131)

We adore chaos because we love to produce order.
— M.C. Escher
Notation made on his pocket calendar (4 Dec 1958) as quoted in Michele Emmer and ‎Doris Schattschneider, M.C. Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (2007), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Adore (3)  |  Chaos (91)  |  Love (309)  |  Order (632)  |  Produce (104)

What I give form to in daylight is only one per cent of what I have seen in darkness.
— M.C. Escher
As quoted, without citation, on the mcescher.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Darkness (68)  |  Daylight (22)  |  Form (959)  |  Give (202)  |  See (1081)

~~[Misattributed]~~ Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.
— M.C. Escher
No known primary source exists for this quote in Escher’s works. It is likely misattributed from a quote by Miguel de Unamuno translated as, “Only one who attempts the absurd is capable of achieving the impossible.” See the Miguel de Unamuno Quotes page on this site.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurd (59)  |  Achieve (66)  |  Attempt (251)  |  Impossible (251)  |  Misattributed (19)  |  Will (2355)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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