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Structural Constellation

<hr> <h3> This applet requires Sun's Java VM 2 which your browser may perceive as a popup. Which it is not. If you want to see the applet work, visit Sun's website at, download and install Java VM and enjoy the applet. </h3> <hr>

A few words.

Copyright © 1996-2008 Alexander Bogomolny










Joseph Albers (1888-1976) is considered one of the fathers of Optical Art. A contemporary of M. C. Escher (1898-1972), he too was fascinated with the geometric form. While work of Escher became a staple of mathematics education, because of a variety of tessellations in the Euclidean and hyperbolic planes that he produced, his impossible figures are much less known to both teachers and students. The same holds for the work of J. Albers who's been creating impossible shapes in the 1950s. The applet represents one of his creations, Structural Constellation (1953-1958).

The shape reminds strongly of the Necker cube and an ambiguous staircase, each of which could be seen from two view points. In the Structural Constellation, Albers forces the two views into a single creation, thus coming up with an impossible figure.


  1. M. L. Teuber, Perceptual Theory and Ambiguity in the Woks of M. C. Escher, H. S. M. Coxeter et al (eds.), M. C. Escher: Art and Science, North-Holland, 1987

Copyright © 1996-2008 Alexander Bogomolny