show what I saw in the pictures.
I'll start with the idea that is not new to me - I'll talk about effect of warped space.
It was this feature that amazed me the most when I first saw the frescoes of Dionysuis in Ferapontov monastery, Russia. Multiple surfaces, distance, lighting, ornaments, varying size and content of the icons - they all come together to trick the eye.
While looking at the pictures I came across othe examples of with similar design. Pictures below show the interior of a church in Pskov, Russia, painted in 12th century by unknown (Greek) painters.