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Butterfly (Emblemata)

Due to the latest change of displayed works, a number of works that are part of a series can now be seen in Room 1: nine (of the 25 in total) woodcuts from the Emblemata series Escher produced in 1931. Earlier we showed you Toadstool from this series. Today, we focus our attention on Butterfly. In this woodcut Escher puts a butterfly (a small tortoiseshell, a swallowtail, who knows?) in a richly ornamented palette of flowers and plants. Art historian G.J. Hoogewerff provided these Emblemata with a motto in Latin and a poem in Dutch.

In this case:

‘Signum immortalitatis fragile admodum.’

Which translates roughly as:

‘a sign of immortality, but very fragile nonetheless.’

A translation of the Dutch poem:

‘Fluttering over the flowers,
without sense of duty,
my fragility is to be praised,
directing your fragility’

Read more about the creation of the Emblemata series.

More Escher today