The 9 square puzzle using the copyrighted Maurits C. Escher "Eight Heads" graphic. When the puzzle is complete, you will jump to a 16 square puzzle with the same image. You can go there directly by clicking the red square. Information about the artist and the graphic is at the page bottom









The 16 square puzzle using the copyrighted Maurits C. Escher "Eight Heads" graphic. When the puzzle is complete, you will jump to a 25 square puzzle with the same image. You can go there directly by clicking the red square.









The 25 square puzzle using the copyrighted Maurits C. Escher "Eight Heads" graphic. When the puzzle is complete, you will jump to a 36 square puzzle with the same image. You can go there directly by clicking the red square.









The 36 square puzzle using the copyrighted Maurits C. Escher "Eight Heads" graphic. When the puzzle is complete, you will jump to a 49 square puzzle with the same image. You can go there directly by clicking the red square. The puzzle is getting difficult! I thought therefore that visitors would appreciate a bigger thumbnail for this magnificent graphic.









The 49 square puzzle using the copyrighted Maurits C. Escher "Eight Heads" graphic. This puzzle is getting to be very difficult indeed! The applet permits up to a ten square puzzle. If there is any interest in my listing a puzzle of greater difficulty, drop me a line and I'll add it in. Information about the artist and the graphic can be found below.


All M.C. Escher works (c) Cordon Art - Baarn - Holland. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Maurits Cornelis Escher, the Dutch graphic artist of world renown, was born in Leeuwarden, in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands on Jun. 17, 1898. He was the youngest of three sons born to George A. Escher, (a civil engineer) and Sarah Escher. His early years were spent in Arnhem, and aspiring to be an architect, he studied at the School of Architecture and Ornamental Design in Haarlem. There he was influenced by Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, turned from architecture to drawing and printmaking, and became particularly skilled in the technique of the woodcut. He was not a brilliant student and, surprising in view of his later work, he had little interest or ability in mathematics. In 1924, he moved to Ravello and Siena in Italy, & married Jetta Umiker, the daughter of a Swiss industrialist. The couple settled in Frascati, just outside Rome. With mounting political unrest in Italy, he moved to Switzerland in 1935 and then to Belgium. And in 1941, with German troops occupying Brussels, Escher returned to Holland and settled in Baarn, where he lived and worked until shortly before his death. The couple had three sons (George, Arthur and Jan). The artist was not, alas, blessed with good health throughout his life & died in a hospital in Hilversum on Mar. 27, 1972 after a prolonged illness. His wife left him a few years before he died.

Escherís early work consists mainly of landscapes and townscapes. But commencing in the mid-thirties he became interested in spatial and optical illusions and particularly repeating patterns or "tesselations". Tesselations can in simple language be described as closed shapes, repeated, which completely cover the page without overlapping or gaps. His work became increasingly fantastic with images of stylized animals, fish and birds, images that appear both flat and three dimensional, strange building architecture with staircases that lead upward and downwards at the same time. All the more surprising in that this ability in visual perception, demonstrating an unusual command of the laws of mathematics and geometry, was not the result of mathematical training but rather the result of interest and application. He was inspired by the intricate Moorish mosaic tilework at the Alhambra in Spain, first visited in 1922, and the Alhambra proved to be a major source of his inspiration. He lived in poverty for much of his life but became famous in the 1950s and enjoyed commercial success thereafter.

The graphic which graces this page was created in 1922. It is a woodcut of approximately 12 13/16 x 13 3/8 inches in size and was made, I learn, by printing the woodcut 4 times on the page. You may see the original image, on Carol Gerten's (CGFA) site
here but there are an amazing number of websites which feature Escher's prolific work. The official "Escher" Website can be seen here & copyright in Escher images is held by Cordon Art, B.V. - Baarn, The Netherlands. The graphic appears on this page with their express permission. The image may be slow to load. I did not reduce the image size in order to avoid a significant loss of image quality.

You may well enjoy, a little story about the artist as narrated by M. C. Escher's eldest son, George A. Escher, to the audience at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 1994.

"One day in the early fifties, father was riding in the tramway in The Hague when a lady passenger looked at him and asked: "Mauk Escher?" (Note: Mauk was the artist's nickname as a child) Although he did not recognize her immediately, he soon remembered her as a girl with whom he had often played when he was a small boy. They chatted for awhile, during which conversation it appeared that she was familiar with his recent work. Then she said: "Do you remember the game... which you always played when eating your bread?" Father did not remember, but he was quite amused to discover that he had not changed much. It amounted to this: the Dutch generally have two cold meals a day in which they eat 'boterhammen', single slices of bread spread with butter, then covered with slices of cheese, ham or chocolate, or peanut butter, honey or other tasty food. That lady still remembered the care with which this little boy had selected shape, quantity and size of his slices of cheese, so that, fitted one against the other, they would cover as exactly as possible the entire slice of bread. This particular trait never left him."

Return to top of page.

A 1929 self portrait (left) & a 1970 photograph of the artist, © J.A.F. de Rijk. I hope that J.A.F. de Rijk, a mathmatician and author who uses the pseudonym of Bruno Ernst, would permit my use of his image. I found the image elsewhere on the web but have found no means to contact him to seek approval for use. One reference I saw suggests that he may well, indeed, have passed away.

The java applet that runs the puzzle is courtesy of Axel Fontaine, who lives just south of the city of Brussels in Belgium. Axel invited free use of his fine applet which you can, I hope, download here. Axel, we thank you!