Carolingian Art

Carolingian Art

Carolingian Art

Carolingian Art

Excerpt

The history of medieval art in western Europe starts as an organic growth from the Carolingian Renascence at the end of the eighth century. Until that date the Christian narrative and didactic art of the Mediterranean world had never fused completely with the ornamental and non-representational art of the Celtic and Germanic north. This process took place during the ninth century in the workshops attached to the court of Charles the Great and his successors and in its dependent monasteries; and it is the object of this book to show how the antique tradition, itself the work of different races and ideals, was there interpreted by the Nordic imagination and refashioned to suit Nordic requirements.

The detailed history of Carolingian art has been worked out by authorities like Boinet, Goldschmidt, Köhler, Leitschuh, Merton, Rand, Schlosser, and Swarzenski; and my debt to their researches will be apparent on every page. These scholars have been mainly concerned with the regional development of Carolingian art and with the classification of the different schools of book-painters and ivory-carvers working at Aachen, Corbie, Metz, Reichenau, Rheims, Saint-Denis, St. Gall, Tours, and elsewhere. But in a book like this, intended for the general student of European art, it has seemed better not to insist on these geographical distinctions, and to concentrate rather upon the wider aspects of the problem . . .

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