'Angelic perspective' in the frescos of Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico (1395–1455), was an early renaissance friar (monk). His paintings are an expression of religious devotion.
The intent of these observations is to understand how Angelico's mastery of perspectivity*, present in many of his works, by means of subtly altering the point of view from that of a person, to a witness, in divine, not human, space. As if a passing angel, in another dimension, was witnessing the scene.
* Perspectivity, the correspondence between points on two lines in a plane determined by a point of that plane not on either line, has higher-dimensional analogues, or higher-dimensional perspectivities.
One of the first pieces in was the San Marco Altarpiece. 'The solidity, the three-dimensionality and naturalism of the figures and the realistic way in which their garments hang or drape around them. Even though it is clouds these figures stand upon, and not the earth, they do so with weight.'
'In the use of the unadorned fresco technique, the clear bright pastel colours, the careful arrangement of a few significant figures and the skillful use of expression, motion and gesture, Michelangelo showed himself to be the artistic descendant of Fra Angelico.'
Perhaps the most interesting of the frescoes is The Annunciation, not only for its topic, but use of the aforementioned technique, in which the vanishing point of the image is an icon.
The laws of normal perspective were systematized in the 15th century, by Brunelleschi, and were constructed with great geometric precision. This is illustrated in the wall painting of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico that is in the cloister of San Marco in Florence. Here even the architectural details are used to create this type of space. The space that is created lends to the figures a peaceful and harmonious sense of 'presence'.