Ways to discover the collection

Charlemagne and his era

Charlemagne (748-814) was crowned king of the Franks in Aix-la-Chapelle in 768 and emperor in Rome in 800. He ushered in a new cultural and artistic heyday. Scholars such as Alcuin of York and Theodulf of Orléans compiled new editions of Latin texts from the Bible, the church fathers and ancient authors as well as texts for divine services. In the Benedictine monasteries of his empire, precious books were meticulously written and adorned with pictures and initial letters of great beauty. Ivory carving, bronze casting and architecture also experienced a renaissance under Charlemagne and his successors. Influences from an intensive study of the art of Ancient Rome were combined with traditions of Anglo-Saxon ornamentation and Christian spirituality to give rise to an independent new style of medieval art.

 So-called Harrach Diptych, Court School of Charlemagne, c. 800, ivory, 33.7 x 23 cm, on loan from the Ludwig collection, Aix-la-Chapelle, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

So-called Harrach Diptych
Cologne, c. 800

 So-called Comb of St. Heribert, Metz, 850-900, ivory, 19 x 12 cm, Inv. No. B 100, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

So-called Comb of St. Heribert
Metz, 850-900

 Carolingian Book of Gospels, Saint-Amand, c. 860-880, parchment, 26 x 19.2 cm, binding, Cologne, c. 1160-1170, Inv. No. G 531, fol. 151v-152r, picture of St. John the Evangelist and title page, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

Carolingian Book of Gospels
Picture of St. John the Evangelist and title page
Saint-Amand, c. 860-880

 Censer, Rhine-Meuse region, 9th cent., cast bronze, H. 10.2 cm, Inv. No. H 46, © Rheinisches Bildarchiv

Rhine-Meuse region, 9th cent.