Page 147: San Brizio Chapel, damned soul escaping (Signorelli, early 1500s)
This “spilling out” of the action into the space of the viewer is exactly the effect of the big scenes up on the middle register of the San Brizio Chapel, when, for example, a hell-bent figure tries to sneak out of the frame of the painting onto the ledge, only to be yanked back by the hair by a guardian demon.
Page 147: San Brizio Chapel, Souls Fleeing
The people subject to the fiery blasts of the angels of destruction at the End of the World try to escape from the fictive space into the actual space of the chapel.
Page 147: San Brizio Chapel, Angel Wings
But the angel’s wings overlap the painted ribs of the vaulting, placing her in “our space.” Her gesture includes those in the chapel; the painting on the wall becomes a permeable membrane between this world and the next.
Page 148: Sassetti Chapel, Boy raised to life
The scene frescoed immediately above the altar depicts a little boy being raised to new life through the intercession of Saint Francis. The carefully rendered background of this scene is obviously and exactly that of the street in front of the church, with façade of the church itself on the right, Santa Trinità bridge straight ahead, the Palazzo Spini Feroni on the left (now home of the Ferragamo fashion family), from a window in which the little boy is falling.
Page 149: Dominicans praying in their cells; Dominicans praying in the paintings
Another example is found in the cells of the dormitory in Monastery San Marco, where the painters in Fra Angelico’s workshop have included figures in Dominican habit in the paintings on the walls.
Page 149: Dominicans praying in their cells
The gestures and attitudes of the friars in the paintings model the demeanor of devotion for the friars living in the cells. In fact, one scholar [William Hood] has pointed out a precise correlation between the various postures of prayer depicted in the cell frescoes and the nine “modes of prayer” described in an illustrated manual of prayer—De modo Orandi—based on Saint Dominic’s own practice.