Carolingian art

The Carolingian art . Denominative for the artistic flourishing that, promoted by Charlemagne and his court, gave new life to Western European art that had reached a point of extreme exhaustion.



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  • 1 Architecture
  • 2 Painting
  • 3 Palatine school.
  • 4 Ada School.
  • 5 School of Tours.
  • 6 School of Reims.
  • 7 Other schools.
  • 8 Sculpture
  • 9 Source


Knowledge of Carolingian architecture, of which few monuments are preserved, is based on documentary evidence, such as engravings and drawings, and above all on data from excavations that have allowed the reconstruction of the floor plan of some buildings.

The most important buildings of the Carolingian era are of a basilica type, such as the Saint-Denis Basilica , with three naves and which was rebuilt with Gothic characters in the 12th century .

It is also important to highlight the central floor constructions with vaults of eastern origin, such as the Aachen Palatine Chapel, started in 798 and consecrated in 805, inspired by the church of San Vital de Ravenna.

Also central is Germigny-des-Prés.

The great Carolingian contribution is the construction of Benedictine monasteries such as the plan of the monastery of Sankt Gallen (Saint Gall), which is known through a drawing. The Corvey and Fulda abbeys are important, as well as the Lorsch portico.



Few fragments of the painting, both sacred and profane, remain, but of extraordinary value, in Saint-Germain de Auxerre (Yonne) and in the crypt of Saint Maximus de Trier, as well as the paintings of Saint John of Müstair.

The only mosaic was ordered to be built in an apse of an oratory in Germigny-des-Prés.

The Carolingian miniature is represented by a diversity of schools:


Palatine school.

Created at court, exemplified in the Coronation Evangeliary ( Vienna ), which according to tradition was found by Otto III at the foot of Charlemagne’s body, when his tomb was opened; and Evangeliario de San Medardo de Soissons (National Library of France ).


Ada School.

Related to the previous one, it uses gold and silver abundantly. The Godescalco Evangeliary (Godesscalc or Godescalc) that is preserved in the Bibl stands out. Nal. from France.

Tours School.

It revolves around the figure of Alcuino, a relative of Charlemagne. Irish influence is felt. His most important work is the first of the Bibles of Carlos el Calvo (Bibl. Nal. De Francia).


Reims School.

It marks the evolution towards the Romanesque. He produced the Utrecht Psalter (Bibl. Universitaria de Utrecht) and the Ebo Evangeliary (Bibl. De Épernay).


Other schools.

Related to the Reims school are those of Saint Denis , Metz and Fulda, which are related to the Ottonian works of the 10th century .


The sculpture is limited to a discreet decorative function, in classic capitals where stone takes center stage instead of marble.

Several small ivory carvings remain: those of the “group of Ada”, named after a sister of Charlemagne, those of the group of Liutardo (British Museum) and those of the school of Metz.

In the Louvre Museum you can see a small bronze equestrian statue of Charlemagne.

Among the applied arts, goldsmithing stands out, with enamels of Byzantine influence.


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