M.C. Escher (1898-1972) was a Dutch illustrator known for his optical illusions, tessellated repeating patterns, and intricately detailed black-and-white images illustrating mathematical principals. View his work, and learn more, at the following M.C. Escher sites.
First thing you'll probably notice, is that this site is in Dutch. Don't leave yet! Just click the English tab on the left-hand nav menu, and the site will switch to English. The Palace is the Lange Voorhout Palace in The Hague which now houses an M.C. Escher museum. Click on "Go Inside" for a unique tour that feels as if you are stepping into the artwork. Read more about the artist and his work in the "Art of Escher" section. "Escher's appeal is timeless and he is appreciated by all kinds of people for his artistic quality as well as for his technical genius."
Named after the image on a box of Droste brand chocolate, the Drost effect is a Dutch term for a recursive image that includes a picture of itself. Escher is famous for playing with this kind of infinite repetition. Escher's The Print Gallery is an illustration of a man looking at painting in a gallery, that includes a window into the gallery showing the same man looking at the same painting. This website from the math department at Leiden University, analyzes the painting and aims to answer questions, such as "What's in the blurry white hole in the middle?"
"Among his [Escher's] greatest admirers were mathematicians, who recognized in his work an extraordinary visualization of mathematical principles. This was the more remarkable in that Escher had no formal mathematics training beyond secondary school." Visit to learn how Escher used Euclidean geometry, non-Euclidean space, topology, tesselations, Penrose triangles, and concepts of infinity in his artwork. Be sure to click through on the thumbnail images to view bigger pictures.
"Object 3 of 24. Created while Escher was still a student at the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem, this is the first print to demonstrate his theory of the regular division of a plane. Escher cut eight heads -- four male and four female -- in the original wood block. The final image was achieved by printing the block four times." I love this virtual museum exhibit because each of the twenty-four images is annotated with a short description. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image, as well as several detail images that zoom into parts of the picture.