Byzantine gold has a peculiar way of causing the unstructured (i.e. pre-linear perspective) depth to pop out of the image, de-emphasising the figures. This kind of representational method has a strong resonance with theological narratives of the impurity and “fallen” nature of humanity.
It serves as a psychological mnemonic that cultivates an ambient visual field which renders the figures as being immersed in an eternal omnipresence of the infinite love and light of Divinity but being simultaneously distanced and removed from it. The halos are implicit reminders that even a manifest Trinity – as a symbol of Unity – remains modestly and humbly divorced from the Power that it ultimately possesses; there is always something more, something beyond and that is the irreducible nature of infinity.
Human intelligence has great difficulty accessing these essential mysteries of ineffable Spirit and it is the power of (this) art to be able to allow a concept of Divinity to touch us through our eyes.
Art: 15th Century, Trinity image.