Ottonian art: c. 950 – 1024

Otto I (who became emperor in 962) lends his name to the “Ottonian” period. He forged an important alliance with the Pope, which allowed him to be crowned the first official Holy Roman Emperor since 924.


Detail, Otto I presenting the Cathedral of Magdeburg, 962–968, Ottonian, from the Cathedral of Magdeburg, probably made in Milan, northern Italy (The Metropolitan Museum of Art). On this ivory, Otto presents a symbolic model of the church to Christ for his blessing. As a humble servant, Otto is depicted smaller than the company of patron saints.
Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962. He lent his name to two successors—and left a rich artistic legacy.

Ottonian art, an introduction



Ruler portrait of Otto III (f.24), Gospels of Otto III (Munich, Bayerische Stattsbibliothek, Clm.4453)
This manuscript is over a thousand years old. Among its magnificent paintings, Otto III sits on his throne.

Gospel Book of Otto III