Eschers Print Gallery and the 'Droste Effect'

In 1956 the famous Dutch artist M.C. Escher created a very puzzeling print. In his lithograph "Print Gallery" a visitor observes a picture that ultimately contains himself.

Unlike the above picture, Eschers original contained a void blurry spot with his signature in the middle of the image. In 2002 the Dutch mathematicians Hendrik Lenstra and Bart de Smit investigated the question how the spot in the middle could reasonably be filled. They found very intresting connections to the complex exponential, and doubly periodic functions, and related it to the so called "Droste Effect" of self referencing images containing themselves as part. For more details see their original article and their website about this project. Their reconstruction allowed, depending on a complex integer parameter, to create other variations with the same artistic content but different geometry.

The above animation is based on Lenstras and de Smits work and their reconstruction of Eschers Print Gallery. Moving the "zoom" slider allows spiraling and zooming into the image to see its contents in various magnifications. Moving the point in the white grid changes the geometry of the picture. Play with it to see variations of the image.