Carolingian art: c. 780 – 900

Charlemagne, King of the Franks and later Holy Roman Emperor, instigated a cultural revival known as the Carolingian Renaissance that continues to impact the way European languages are written, the structure of modern law and the very notion of Europe itself.


St. Mark from the Godescalc Gospel Lectionary, folio 1v., c. 781-83
Thanks to Charlemagne, religious reform and cultural revival swept 9th-century Europe. We call this period “Carolingian.”

Carolingian art, an introduction




The octagonal plan references earlier churches and symbolizes regeneration. Was Charlemagne’s throne at its center?

Palatine Chapel, Aachen





Lindau Gospels cover (detail)
Few medieval book covers survive. This bejeweled example depicts the crucified Christ and comes from Charlemagne’s workshop.

Lindau Gospels cover