Category Archives: Geometry

Escher’s Toroidal Print Gallery

If Art+Math brings one person to mind, it’s Escher. His tessellations present the best-known instance, but he did a lot more than that.

In April 2003, the mathematicians Bart de Smit and Hendrik Lenstra wrote a delightful article, Escher and the Droste effect, about Escher’s lithograph Prentententoonstelling. They pointed out that

We shall see that the lithograph can be viewed as drawn on a certain elliptic curve over the field of complex numbers…

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Filed under Analysis, Geometry

Wallpaper Groups

Escher: Alhambra Sketch

I first learned as a kid that “there are only 17 basically different wallpapers” from W.W.Sawyer’s Prelude to Mathematics. (The quote appears on p.102. Aside: this remains an excellent gift for a youngster with a yen for math.) I remember my father pointing out the absurdity of this claim: are all mural wallpapers of van Gogh’s paintings basically the same?

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Filed under Geometry, Physics