Upon first glance, you most notice the waterfall – and how it falls into itself. As hinted by the title, the waterfall and it's meaning is the primary part of this piece. Elsewhere in the piece you see two characters, one putting out laundry and the other lounging around. The Basics What is most noticeable, when you first look at this print?
Intended Audience Who was the intended audience of this lithograph? Being a simple artist, Escher's audience was the entire world – the work was designed for everyone to view, something of beauty and meaning.
Logos Is the work's substance logical? What thoughts does it bring to mind? No, the work is not logical. It doesn't make sense that a waterfall can fall into the same stream that provides its water. However, this hints toward some kind of deeper meaning in Escher's mind when creating this lithograph.
Deeper Meaning? Being as the waterfall quite literally falls into itself, a perpetual motion machine (something that can create infinite energy and do infinite work) is created – which defies the Law of Conservation of Energy. When thinking about this and the actions of the people in the scene, what do you think Esher was idolizing in this work? Perpetual motion has been part of many people's “utopia” dreams. The people are lounging around because they have it made – they don't have to worry about working much (other than adding water to the waterfall, as Escher once jokingly noted, due to evaporation). Escher was a man of existential thought and theory, and displayed his thoughts on many proposals in his artworks.
Ethos For the information presented, do you believe that M.C. Escher may be considered a credible source and that his expression correctly portrays the intended meaning? Yes – M.C. Escher is one of the world's best known artists, his works are often discussed in Psychology forums (meetings) and he is regarded as a philosopher despite having no degree or official education in any relating subject. His thoughts on many theories are held in high regard.
Pathos Is there any pathological appeal in this lithograph? Despite so much “deeper meaning”, I don't believe that Escher actually intended for there to be emotional appeals in this work, although they may be inferred in certain contexts.
Technique What techniques were used in this work? What stands out in Escher's use of shape, detail, and overall composition? Most notable is the three-times used Penrose Triangle. Escher plays with the mind's expectations of viewing “3D” objects on a 2D plane. The odd looking objects in the mid- bottom left hand add complex detail into the work, balancing the more detailed mid-top right. These details help present Escher's thoughts more fully and make a much more interesting visual for anyone who views it. Escher also added some of his favorite objects – the polyhedrons on top of the stream's “towers.”
Omittance What has been omitted from this slide? The rest of the village or city wasn't included in the work, despite evidence of its existence. Escher wanted to portray a singular idea of his utopia, which wouldn't be so well emphasized by having a large group of structures in the frame.