Carolingian Art

Carolingian Art describes art from the Frankish Empire created between 780 and 900 AD.  It is art produced by and for the court circle and a group of important monasteries with special bond to the court. It is characterized by a blend of classical Mediterranean forms and Northern elements, such as confidence in the representation of human figures. For the first, but not the last time we can see a revival of classical Mediterranean styles. It was influenced by Insular Art.

The Carolingian Empire matched in size and importance the Byzantine Empire or the Western Roman Empire. Yet it lacked a distinct artistic style that these empires were known for as well. Plus, the Carolingian Empire sought to position itself with the Western church and its refusal to use the Byzantine iconoclasm. Thus, Charlemange sought to revive the Roman culture and learning in Europe. Not afraid of merging images of the pagan pantheon with those of the young Christian church, he signs responsible for introducing the first Christian monumental religious sculptures into Western art as well as producing distinct illuminated manuscripts and small-scale sculptures.

With the end of the Carolingian rule the quality of artistic production declines and only picks up about 300 years later with the start of the Ottonian period.

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