It’s An Illusion, Part 3 – Smaller and Smaller…

MMair_DrosteEffect_Thinking About Thinking_OriginalArt

M. Mair, Thinking About Thinking (Droste Effect)

The Droste Effect is fascinating.  Even though the technique had already been used by artists for centuries, the effect was named in the 20th century after images on packages of Droste cocoa powder.  These images showed a woman holding a tray which has a package on it that shows the same woman holding a tray with the same package and image…  And so on, theoretically ad infinitum.

In this kind of picture, the image grows smaller rapidly – the progression is geometric, and the number of steps is limited by what the eye can see – and what the artist can create.

Escher developed more complex pictures, based on his understanding of the mathematics behind the effect.  In Smaller and Smaller he creates a pattern that repeats and generates smaller and smaller versions of itself as the eye moves from the outside in.  You can see the picture here.

Now artists and photographers can use computers to manipulate images, and this has led to new images using the Droste Effect.  Josh Sommers has been working on using the Droste Effect in his photographic images, and the results are fascinating.  You can find some information and some of his images here.

I wonder whether Escher would have enjoyed being able to explore using the same kind of techniques?

Droste Effect:


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