Escher created this print in 1950, around the same time that crystallographers were taking an interest in his artwork. Despite the world around us appearing chaotic, at a microscopic level it is highly ordered. The molecules that create a crumpled piece of paper are tessellated in the most orderly of arrays. Escher made a number of prints that included polyhedrons during the 1950‘s. The stellated dodecahedron that adorns the center was one of his favorites and appears as the centerpiece in two other lithographs.
We see here a crystal sphere, or perhaps a soap bubble, which contains geometric star which pierces its skin. This shape is a stellated dodecahedron, the same figure Escher populated with dinosaurs in his lithograph ‘Gravity.’
Surrounding this sphere, and quite literally reflected in it, is an assortment of seemingly chaotic rubble: a broken pipe, an eggshell, a cough-drop package, some pottery and glass, and what we might call a sublime still life of paper and string. But what we often perceive as chaotic is perhaps not so random after all. For example, if you were to take one of these discarded objects and examine it under a powerful microscope, you would see perfect little interlocking crystals and molecules. We don't see these orderly patterns.... but they are there, disguised as chaos! Surprisingly similarly, if we look at Escher's tessellating prints we might see perfect birds and fish interlocking, at times even people fit together, and we can find identical horsemen marching along. We never see such creatures in their perfect forms, but Escher can illustrate their harmony and perfection brilliantly. Is it too far a leap, then, to believe that all of creation, and we as humans, may follow some perfect invisible pattern, and perhaps we fit together in some unknown way like the little men tumbling down the stairs in Escher's lithograph 'Cycle'
Escher himself explained this with a rare philosophical remark: "I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world and not in a formless chaos, as it sometimes seems.”