M.C Escher-Illusionary Genius!

Vote 0 Votes


For years I have been shown works of art by M.C Escher. We've all seen his image of the never-ending staircase, as well as the images of the intertwining fish. But the image I am going to focus on is his 1958 Belvedere lithograph. If one looks at this picture, the tower looks completely normal, and actually quite beautiful. But then if one looks closely, one would notice that the pillars of the tower do not connect in the right places. Actually, the tower would not be capable to stand correctly if the pillars were connected the way they are in the picture. This illusion is an example of both top-down and bottom-up processing. Our top-down processing convinces us that this tower is just an image of a beautiful tower. The reason for this is that we expect the tower to be put together the right way since it looks like a normal tower. But then we start to look at the actual pieces of this tower, and see that it is not put together correctly. This forming a perception based off of parts is our bottom-up processing. We form a perception based off of the individual parts of the image. And from examining the parts, we then come to perceive the image a certain way. And if one looks at the individual parts of the tower, one realizes that it is a nonsensical tower. And that is why M.C Escher is such an illusionary genius. He is able to create images that look perfectly normal upon first glance. For example, when I examined the image further, I realized it does not make sense. Even after realizing the image does not make sense, for some reason it still looked like a normal tower. M.C Escher was truly one of a kind!


| Leave a comment

I think it is really cool the way you applied top-down and bottom-up processing to this picture. For years I've known about this picture (it is one of my favorites of Escher's) but before taking Psych 1001 I was never able to realize why we might perceive the tower as normal at first glance. However I do believe that Escher was trying harder to deceive our top-down processing because like you said he does such a good job of making us see a simply beautiful tower, based on our notions of what a beautiful tower looks like. The text also discusses a monocular cue that Escher is taking advantage of, can you figure out what it is?

This is a great way to help us understand the basis of top-down and bottom-up processing. You really did a great job at breaking it down into simple parts and allowing us to see for ourselves how it applies to different things in life. I would have to agree that the first time I glanced at the picture, I used top-down processing and didn't really think much of it until you said now start looking at the picture from the bottom and move your way up. When I actually took the time to look at the image using the more correct way (bottom-up) it was fairly easy to detect the issues with the columns not being attached in the proper places. It just goes to show how our brain plays tricks on our perception and deceives us when we take a look at the image in a whole, instead of looking at it step by step. The brain is fooled in a sense that it knows what normal buildings and towers look like so it doesn't notice slight differences or it fills in the illusions to look normal when we glance at it quickly.

I too find the work of M.C. Escher to be pretty cool.
Here's one of my favorites:


I wonder if he was familiar with the psychological basis behind what he was creating.

This section of our book has been my favorite so far, I find illusions to be very fascinating! I too did not notice the illusion at first glance. I thought the building looked strange, but I didn't noticed anything right away. Like you said, you have to look hard to notice it. I agreed that M.C. Escher is for sure an illusionary genius!

Perception is by far the most interesting concept we have learned this far, in my opinion. The way that our mind is able to trick us into seeing something as normal or different is completely remarkable and really shows the complexity of our brain. Honestly, it took me some time to fully realize where the inaccuracy was and upon seeing it I was amazed to realize that it was there the whole time. The application of top-down processing and bottom-up processing was perfect for this picture and topic. Much like the others who commented on this post, I used top-down processing at first and was completely oblivious to the columns. Later on by applying bottom-up processing, I was able to process the image for what it was. What is most intriguing, as I mentioned earlier, is that our brain is able to interpret this as a building even though there is obvious inconsistencies. Upon looking at other works by M.C. Escher, I realized that this man had a truly remarkable talent to create images that tricked our brain and made us think about what we perceived.

This was a great example to top-down and bottom-up processing and you explained it very well. The illusion was also a great example and very cool to look at!

Illusions are so amazing to me, like for instance the little device that has 3 legs from one point of view and 2 from the other, or in cases like this, where things look right, until you realize that it was just a cruel trick played upon you to make you think you knew reality.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by landb041 published on February 19, 2012 10:23 PM.

Blind, Yet Able to See? was the previous entry in this blog.

The Secret You: What Drives Our Consciousness? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.