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Hand with Reflecting Sphere

M.C. Escher Hand with Reflecting Sphere (Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror) lithograph 31,8 x 21,3 cm January 1935

Hand with Reflecting Sphere is not just a self-portrait. In this lithograph, Escher is combining two realities: one from direct observation and one in the mirror. The print shows Escher’s right hand, which is holding a mirrored sphere (reversed by the litho print so that it looks like a left hand). Thanks to the reflection in this sphere, the artist can see himself and the room around him. This was Escher’s studio at 122 Via Alessandro Poerio in Rome. The convex reflection distorts the room: what is close up appears extra large, and what is farther away actually becomes smaller. Escher is seated in the centre, looking straight at us.

Escher often made self-portraits with the aid of a spherical mirror. This enabled him to study himself and the world around him in detail. In his characteristic fashion, these prints by Escher are showing us unexpected aspects of reality.

Read more about Escher’s self-portraits