M.C. Escher challenge!

I’m lucky to have a large exhibit of M.C. Escher’s work in a local art museum from now until May.  For reasons far beyond my ken, the Akron Art Museum was selected to host a collection of prints and whatnot — one of only two museums to get it in North America.   I know Escher is not considered a “real artist” by critics because he did no paintings and only a few sculptures…woodcuts and lithographs, no matter how awesome, are apparently too ephemeral to count.

So the challenge is this: Check out these awesome Escher illustrations and use them as the main ingredients in a campaign or adventure.  Or more plausibly: tell me what your idea for an adventure or setting that uses these illustrations as inspiration might be like, and leave in it the comments. (Yes, I am aware of the Alexandrian’s awesome OPD with the “Escher effects”).

The illustrations (all from Google Image Searches, and many from one Russian site that I can’t find again):

Castle in the air

Double planetoid



House of stairs

Procession in a crypt

Rome and the Griffin of Borghese

Scholastica illustration

Sabbat (Scholastica illustration)

Mummified priests in Gangi, Sicily

Woods near Menton


Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 7:30 am  Comments (9)  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/m-c-escher-challenge/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That ‘procession in a crypt’ piece screams WG4 and the ‘woods near menton’ makes me think of Death Frost Doom.

  2. That ‘procession in a crypt’ piece screams WG4


  3. Before I read the comments I was heading down to post ‘procession in a crypt’ reminded me of Tramp’s work.

  4. Eye –

    Not a campaign or adventure, but a place and event.

    A photographer signs a contract that can’t be broken and isn’t up until the job is done. He* dies while while doing it, and comes back to life. He’s still trying to take the right picture years later.

    *Based on what the skull in the eye looks like it’s a male skull, but it’s easy enough to change the gender of the photographer.

  5. Actually I’d say the reason the art snobocracy rejects Escher is more arcane than merely his media. I think it mostly comes down to him being essentially a Surrealist but not being socially “in” with the surrealist “in” crowd. Plus he came to the table a little later than the main surrealist deluge and made work that people with no art training often liked.

    No single one of these things is death in the art world (social outsider status, not making the kind of art that’s hip at the time, and being accessible), but all 3 together is death.

  6. I’m with Zak on Escher’s non-canonicity: this happens all over art history (and history generally): the Story moves on from place to place and time to time, and people who write survey texts don’t care about what happens outside that narrative path. So Italy is interesting in the 16th century but not the 17th, which is about Holland, and Holland’s boring in the 18/19th which is about France. Had Escher somehow got himself involved with Fluxus he’d probably be lionized.

    As a printmaker I confess you’re right about media, though. Nobody gives a shit about printmaking, and even printmakers give disproportionate attention to “real artists” (painters, sculptors) who also did prints.

  7. The mummified priests are actually an undead boyband, employed as guardians of the crypt, wherein the procession of novices glides around, Cordoban ‘semana santa’ stylee. Their singing terrifies and their movements mesmerise and cause a paralysis (save vs fear) even as the inanity of their lyrics rot the mind (-1 to Wis effect). The crypt itself is reached through the Menton woods, which give cover to the northern edge of the city, itself watched over by the pet griffin of Borghese, sultry lich and premier celebrity of the age. Only the one they call Vergil can show the way down.

    To enter the crypt requires passage through the house of stairs, of course, a peculiar place of apparent extra-dimensions and inverted physical laws. Up becomes down and down leads only to above, and all about the mirrored walls leak astral segmatons (jointed constructs, insectoid golems, fuelled by fear and hungry for confused thoughts – eaters of sanity and flesh). Should any make it past these clattering psychopomps they emerge onto the isle in the lake of Brioche, there to witness Borghese seemingly levitating an entire castle (Dolorous Garde, of course)… but what powers flow in that undeathly breast? And why do the eyes of my companion show only my skull reflected, fleshless and lost?

    Could the legends of the return of the great dragon Escher be true after all?

  8. […] dammit, swords and dorkery points to a whole raft of Escher I somehow hadn’t seen before, and the very first picture lays this whole conceit bare. I […]

  9. After Heruka’s excellent suggestions, I have nothing to add.

    I don’t know anything about how the art critics feel about Escher. I had the impression, when I was in art school, that a lot of my fellow students felt he had ‘worn out his welcome’ by being so popular — his work was everywhere on mugs, t-shirts, posters, mouse pads, etc. Also he was usually the favorite artist of computer geeks, physics students and others for whom art was merely ‘decoration’ rather than the artist laying their soul bare, etc. Yeah, we were snobs, but it was a snobbery similar to “I liked that band before everyone else heard of them; now they are mainstream and lame.” It is probably a part of growing up. And I outgrew that kneejerk reaction and learned to like what I like again rather than worrying about what the in crowd thought.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wayne's Books

Game Gallery ~ Photo Blog

Ann's Immaterium

Writing, gaming, miniature painting, physical culture, and other dark procrastinations.


Collecting, modelling, painting and wargaming in 28mm

Dragons Never Forget

What were we talking about again?

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Tabletop games and adventures

Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

Hey Did You Know I Write Books

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut


Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs


The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.


Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.


Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Dagger and Brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides


A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.


I bought these adventure and review them so you don't have to.

9th Key Press

Maps, supplements, and inspiration for roleplaying games.

The Rambling Roleplayer Archives

This site is no longer being updated. Check out the new site at www.rpgrambler.com

The History Blog

History fetish? What history fetish?

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time


Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: