In 258 the Roman Emperor Valerian decreed that all Christian clergy should immediately be arrested and put to death. Pope Sixtus II was executed on August 6. The archdeacon Lawrence. who was in charge of the distribution of material goods, gave everything to the poor. When the avaricious magistrate ordered Lawrence to surrender all the possessions of the Church and to deny Christ, Lawrence presented the poor, whom the Church had fed and clothed. These, he said, are the true riches of the Church. Lawrence was put to death on August 10.
In Blessed Giovanni Angelico's fresco in the Vatican, a perspective corridor leads back to the apse of the church. In Renaissance art, the vanishing point of perspective represents the infinite source and destination of all things, that is God. God is found incarnate in the tabernacle in the apse of the church. The figure of the saint continues the shape of the apse down into the foreground of the scene, uniting eternity and the present moment, bringing the mercy of Christ to the poor and afflicted. Notice that the saint's dalmatic is decorated with flames -- the fire which was the instrument of his martyrdom, yes; but even more the divine love which fills him.
(Fra Angelico was among the first artists to use the new system of perspective set forth by Leon Batista Alberti in his treatise on painting. Alberti developed his system in tandem with the thought of Cardinal Nicolas of Cusa, philosopher, theologian and mystic.)