Take a Trippy Journey into an M.C. Escher Drawing


M.C. Escher’s pieces are like mind games. The Dutch artist is known for his intricate drawings of warped landscapes, stairs morphing into hallways, and 3D objects turning into 2D sketches. Many of his pictures use “mise en abyme”—the art term used to describe when one object is repeated endlessly as if two mirrors are facing each other. This term is also known as the “Droste effect” after Droste—a Dutch cacao company—used the technique on one of their cacao cans in the early 1900s. On the tin, the nurse is holding a tray which is holding a box of cacao—one with the nurse and tray image on it. If you look closely enough, the nurse on the box is also holding a tray with a cacao box.

Image Credit: Alf van Beem via Wikipedia Commons // CC0 1.0

In 2011, the Parque de las Ciencias in Granada, Spain, held an M.C. Escher exhibition. To explain how Escher used the Droste effect in his drawings—specifically the lithograph Galería de Grabados—the Exposition uploaded a video to YouTube that takes you on a swirly adventure into the image.