Comparative Civilizations 12 K.J. Benoy. Fra Angelico.
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“He was kind to other people and moderate, lived chastely and far from the temptations of this world. He would often say that anyone practising the art of painting needed a quiet and untroubled life, and that the man who portrayed the words of Christ should live with Christ. In short, this monk cannot be praised highly enough, for he was humble and modest in every word and deed, and skillful and reverent in his paintings. The saints which he portrayed resembled true saints more closely than those done by any other artist.”
Fra Angelico is a Renaissance painter, but he continued to employ more traditional techniques.
His use of perspective is still in the Byzantine tradition of inverse perspective, placing the viewer as the point of view of the figures in the icon - instead of the other way around. The intent is to place the viewer in divine, not human, space.
H.W. Janson describes Fra Angelico’s art as “…something of a paradox. The deeply reverential attitude presents an admixture of traditional Gothic piety and Renaissance grandeur bestilled by contemplative calm.”
Fra Angelico uses perspective in places in this painting, while ignoring it elsewhere. See the bowsprit of the ship. Also note how light, which gives spatial depth, strikes the figures from the front left, and the mountains from the rear left.
Figures are shown in tremendous detail, while the landscape is given in simplified form.
Curiously, the painting works, regardless of these oddities.