The Corner of Math and Art

Tommy Oddo

M.C. Work

This is an image of the famous “Sky and Water 1” woodcut piece from Escher. It is a tessellation.

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher is a very famous Dutch artist who made over 2,000 drawings and sketches in his lifetime. M.C. was said to be very similar to other artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, because he was left handed. He was a graphic artist and enjoyed creating architectural pieces such as "Ascending and Descending" and "Waterfall". Escher even used symmetry in his art when he made tessellation pieces called "Metamorphosis", "Symmetry No.45", and Symmetry No.20", just to name a few. He created most of his pieces in Italy, but some were made in Switzerland and Spain. He even managed to make a tessellation woodcut! Escher is now one of the most enjoyed graphic artists by millions of people around the world. Sadly, he passed away in 1972, but he will always have a wonderful reputation for combining math into art and his wonderful tessellations.

Tessellation Art

These are standard and basic, tessellations.

Tessellation Transformations

Within the tessellation, many transformations occur between the shapes. These transformations don't change the size or shape and are called isometries. There are three main types of isometries. The first is called a translation which is simply a slide or movement of the shape. Next, there is the reflection which is just a flip or "mirror image" of the shape. Finally, the third is the rotation which is a turn of 90, 180, 270, or 360 degrees of the shape.


This is a tessellation with reflective symmetry, which is commonly found in many tessellations.