you're reading:
Attachment pages, Galleries, Html & inline css codes, [Off topic]

Three Escher lithographs

Posted as an illustration of the technique described here.

Update 26/10: Post obsolete – my attachment pages messed up now that themes have (fortunately) been updated to include navigation thumbnails.

Code in the description box of the first image:
<table width="510px" style="padding-top:2em;padding-bottom:1.4em;">
<td align="left" valign="bottom">
<a href="URL_OF_POST">Back to post</a>
<td align="right" valign="bottom">
<img src="URL_OF_2nd_IMAGE" width="60" /></a>
Code in the description box of the second image:
<table width="510px" style="padding-top:2em;padding-bottom:1.4em;">
<td align="left">
<img src="URL_OF_1st_IMAGE" height="60" /></a>
<td align="right">
<img src="URL_OF_3rd_IMAGE" height="60" /></a>
Code in the description box of the third image:
<table width="510px" style="padding-top:2em;padding-bottom:1.4em;">
<td align="left" valign="bottom">
<img src="URL_OF_2nd_IMAGE" width="60" /></a>
<td align="right" valign="bottom">
<a href="URL_OF_POST">Back to post</a>
Note: “510” relates to the width of the particular images; “valign” means vertical alignment: used in order to bring the text links in line with the bottom of the thumbnail links; “padding-top” and “padding-bottom” are used to adjust the white space above and below the links.


20 thoughts on “Three Escher lithographs

  1. Ah great – an illustration not working!

    You’ve probably guessed what happened. The post was created on the 20th, but set to private till I finished it. I checked that everything was working before publishing it; but by then it was the 21st, so I changed the date, and forgot to change it in the links too…


    And sorry, I transferred your comment here: I’d rather leave the Eschers uncluttered.

    And now we’ve got another interesting side-effect: your comment with my avatar! (If you’d like us to correct that, I’m afraid you’ll have to submit the comment again.)

    Posted by Panos | May 21, 2009, 15:49
  2. A fine example of unforeseen consequences—the dates, and the comment in the wrong place, then the wrong avatar…

    Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that these images are most appropriate for illustrating this technique.

    The only time I tried it was on my test blog, with random pictures named with only numbers and before I finished, I felt like the woman about to descend the stairs and then realize she’s on the ceiling, only it must be a floor because there is a fellow climbing a ladder to reach it, but his double is also climbing a ladder to a floor above the ceiling… I couldn’t remember which url of attachment was next and which was previous…

    I do love Escher, though!

    And as long as my comment is veering off-topic, you might find some of these interesting:

    Posted by Tess | May 21, 2009, 16:19
  3. I’ve got your re-submitted comment awaiting approval (because of the links). Do you want me to make the substitution and edit the whole exchange, or leave this “fine example of unforeseen consequences” as it is now? (Whatever you prefer – but I’ll do it late at night; must be off to work now.)

    Posted by Panos | May 21, 2009, 16:45
  4. It’s your blog and I trust your excellent judgement. I rather like it as is—antithetical to the imposed constraints of simple tessellations—with the added serendipity of timing. (I had to get to work as well, so now it has already been up for some time)
    Was Escher himself an artist, a mathematician, a technician?
    “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”
    Though when you and your blog (“(PS This is not my primary blog!”) are famous…

    Posted by Tess | May 22, 2009, 03:17
  5. Re: the misdirected link
    Did you publish and set it to private, or leave it as an unpublished draft?
    I know I’ve had similar problems with links to posts that are drafts, but now that I consider I don’t know that I’ve had trouble with published password protected posts. (Well, the one occasion I tried that.)
    best to you…

    Posted by Tess | May 22, 2009, 03:23
  6. – “Most appropriate” description of the effects of the technique!

    – It’s my blog but it was your comment, and it was my fault anyway, so I had to ask you and replace the comment if you wished. But it wouldn’t be what I preferred! I liked this series of accidents. And it’s good to know this detail about the avatar. (“Has already been up for some time” is not a factor to me.)

    – I never make drafts, because I want to see how things actually look in the blog (sometimes I change my mind re the arrangement of the material after I see it published, or even prepare two different versions in advance in order to see which one will look better). I prepare the posts in Text Edit, paste to html editor, publish as private (private, not password protected), check the result, add or correct things, then turn to public.

    – “Was Escher himself an artist, a mathematician, a technician?” I’d say first and foremost and most obviously a master craftsman. Then an artist, definitely an artist. I think he was cunningly intelligent but no mathematician. I think at first he didn’t know much about the mathematics of his art (besides, not all of his work involves mathematics). He has said: “If only you knew the things I have seen in the darkness of night … at times I have been nearly demented with wretchedness at being unable to express these things in visual terms”. Doesn’t sound like a mathematician to me! When he was perched up high studying St. Peter’s in Rome for hours, tourists asked him “don’t you get giddy up here” and he replied “that’s the whole point”! That doesn’t sound like a mathematician either! In discussing his “Print Gallery” he says: “Riemann is completely beyond me and theoretical mathematics are even more so, not to mention non-Euclidian geometry”. Then he goes on to explain that he intentionally chose repetitive objects (row of prints, blocks of houses), because without them “it would be all the more difficult to get [his] meaning over to the random viewer”. To me this is clearly the mind of an artist interested in how to produce something effective, not of someone who merely plays with geometry. I think that, whatever role mathematics may play in some of his work, they’re just a tool: they are not enough for the sense of amazement and wonder his most inspired works manage to evoke.

    (- “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet…” He! Willy knows us all so well…)

    Posted by Panos | May 22, 2009, 14:56
  7. Follow-up: Everybody who’s doing decent drawings knows the tools with which you create the illusion of 3D space (shadows, rules of perspective, vanishing points etc.). Even I know them: we had learned them in art classes in school, and we never thought of them as mathematics – just reasonable ways to make something look realistic. So I think that Escher simply knew all the standard tools of his trade, and was exceptionally good at manipulating them or twisting them to mind-boggling effect. That’s why he’s a true artist: because he reflected on the consequences and the potential of his tools.

    Posted by Panos | May 22, 2009, 15:59
  8. “Was Escher himself an artist, a mathematician, a technician?”
    I heartily agree with your analysis, though I’ve known a couple of very creative and intuitive mathematicians, one of whom might have been insane. And many math-people (including engineers) have adopted Escher as their own. The mathematics in his work is neither the reason nor its inspiration but is merely a tool. A master craftsman makes his tools serve him. I especially like the way you said it: “…he reflected on the consequences and the potential of his tools.”
    And my friend, you know my question was rhetorical, answered with my quote from M. Shakespeare.

    Posted by Tess | May 22, 2009, 17:53
  9. ≥^≅^≤
    re: the drafts
    I’ll have to try that. I’ve been annoyed at how the “preview” of drafts doesn’t always reflect the final published appearance of a post…

    Posted by Tess | May 22, 2009, 18:00
  10. Having trouble with your “Back to Post” advice.
    Followed your instructions and inserted your code into the description boxes of the three images in my gallery, and “Back to Post” shows up, but when I click on it, I get a page that says:

    Error 404 – Not Found
    Oh no! You’re looking for something which just isn’t here! Fear not however, errors are to be expected, and luckily there are tools on the sidebar for you to use in your search for what you need.

    Can you help? My URL is


    Posted by tdchuh | July 26, 2009, 23:10
  11. @tdchuh: If you get a 404, then you haven’t pasted the correct URL. In order to help I need to see the source code of your pages, and I can’t do that as long as your blog is set to private. Please select the middle privacy option and let me know when you do.

    Posted by Panos | July 27, 2009, 02:48
  12. Thanks for your reply! I have changed the privacy setting to the middle level, so let me know what you think. Also, for the URLs, I simply cut and pasted the ones from your post into my pictures 1, 2 and 3.


    Posted by tdchuh | July 27, 2009, 03:22
  13. Ah, there’s a misunderstanding (I must probably update the post to make things clearer, but this is an illustration of a technique described in another post, and you should have consulted that post as well): the parts in capitals aren’t actual working code, they are indications of what to put where. For instance, where I write URL_OF_POST you must substitute that with the actual URL of your post (as copied from the address bar of your browser after you click on the title of the post), i.e. this:
    Same thing for the URLs of the attachment pages and the images – it’s a very tedious thing to do…

    Also note that (as I do note in the post) the 510 is only fit for the particular images I had inserted; yours are narrower: you must change the number to 450 or 460.

    Posted by Panos | July 27, 2009, 06:18
  14. Thanks so much for the clarification! I will try your suggestions.

    Posted by tdchuh | July 27, 2009, 07:15
  15. I have also been communicating with justjennifer on this topic, and she has suggested an easier way to do this. I tried it and it seems to work fine. In the description box of each image, I entered:

    <a>Back to Post</a>
    [Edited to display the code – P.]

    The result is that when I click on the thumbnail, I get to the attachment page with the larger image and a “Back to Post” link at the bottom. When you click that, it takes you back to the main post.

    Let me know what you think! And thank you for all your help!

    Posted by tdchuh | July 27, 2009, 08:38
  16. The code reads <a href="your link here" rel="nofollow">Back to Post</a>
    [Edited to display the code – P.]

    does that make sense?

    Posted by tdchuh | July 27, 2009, 08:40
  17. – You’re welcome; and, yeah, you’ve got it right this time! Sorry the post wasn’t clear enough.

    – Jennifer’s suggestion is a lot simpler; mine was just a demonstration of how you can manually achieve what some themes produce automatically but most themes unfortunately lack.

    – Yes, “nofollow” makes sense (if that’s what you’re asking) – nothing to worry about: it tells search engines to forget this link. It’s consistent with the second and third privacy options.

    – And keep in mind that comments are almost like posts: if you paste code, you get the result the code is meant to produce, not the code itself. I had to edit your last two comments to make the code show up.

    Posted by Panos | July 27, 2009, 10:16
  18. Thanks! I was trying to figure out why that was happening — I’m new to all this and don’t know ANYTHING about html, so this has been really helpful. I appreciate all the support!

    Posted by tdchuh | July 27, 2009, 19:46


  1. Pingback: Forever is composed of nows « Tess’s Japanese Kitchen - June 1, 2009


author's avatar panos (justpi)

 Subject Index

Announcement 22/03/2012: After WP's latest move, this blog will no longer offer active support and assistance. The blog will remain online but commenting on older posts has been disabled.
✶ All theme-related posts are updated up to and including theme 189 in this list, but will not continue to be updated.


  • Views per month:
Safari Icon Firefox - Never Internet Explorer
Note: if you see ads on this site, they are placed by WordPress, not me.
Mostly on themes, formatting, coding, tweaks and workarounds.
Based on or springing from my contributing in the forum.
Theme-related posts constantly updated
Premium themes and Annotum not included
%d bloggers like this: