Merovingian art

Visual arts produced under the Merovingian dynasty of the 5th–8th centuries AD.

They consisted mainly of small-scale metalwork, little of which has survived, and several important manuscripts. The style blends Roman Classical style with native Germanic-Frankish traditions, which favoured abstraction and geometric patterning. The human figure was rarely attempted; artists were concerned primarily with surface design. Though modest, Merovingian art was influential long after the end of the dynasty.

* * *

      visual arts produced under the Merovingian kings of the 5th to the 8th century AD, who consolidated power and brought Christianity to the Frankish kingdom (modern France and the Rhineland) after the fall of the Roman Empire in Gaul and laid the political and artistic foundation for the Carolingian Empire that followed. Merovingian art is characterized by a mixture of the Roman classical style with native Germanic-Frankish artistic traditions, which favoured abstraction and geometric patterning. From the end of the 5th century the Germanic style gradually dominated. The human figure was rarely attempted; artists were concerned primarily with the surface design and developed a rich decorative vocabulary.

      The Merovingians left little, because their art consisted mainly of small-scale metalwork (jewelry and ecclesiastical objects) that survives only from grave finds and written descriptions. Stone and marble sculpture was produced infrequently, and Merovingian architecture was largely impermanent. Several important Merovingian manuscripts survive, however, such as the 8th-century Gellone Sacramentary (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). Like Hiberno-Saxon manuscripts, they display a limited range of bright colours, primarily red, green, and yellow. Animal motifs are used imaginatively: sometimes the letters are constructed of fish and birds. The Merovingians' artistic accomplishments were comparatively modest, but their art was an original and vital blending of barbarian and Mediterranean traditions, which continued to exert influence long after the end of the Merovingian dynasty.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Merovingian art and architecture — Baptistery of cathedral Saint Léonce of Fréjus …   Wikipedia

  • Merovingian dynasty — Merovingian redirects here. For other uses, see Merovingian (disambiguation). The Kingdom of the Franks expanded from Austrasia, established by the Merovingian dynasty. The Merovingians (also Merovings) were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to …   Wikipedia

  • Merovingian (disambiguation) — The term Merovingian has several uses: The Merovingian dynasty of Frankish kings ruled an area of modern France and Germany from the 5th to 8th century AD. Merovingian script, a type of script used in the Merovingian kingdom. Merovingian (The… …   Wikipedia

  • art — art1 /ahrt/, n. 1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. 2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art… …   Universalium

  • Art — /ahrt/, n. a male given name, form of Arthur. * * * I also called visual art A visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination. The term art encompasses diverse media such as painting, sculpture,… …   Universalium

  • ART — Ling. article: often used to represent the class of determiners, including words such as this, that, and some as well as the articles a, an, and the. * * * I also called visual art A visual object or experience consciously created through an… …   Universalium

  • Merovingian Dynasty — (450 751)    Ruling family of Frankish Gaul from the mid fifth to the mid eighth century, when it was replaced by Pippin the Short and the Carolingian dynasty. Creators of the most effective and longest lasting successor state to emerge in the… …   Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

  • Art Deco — The art deco spire of the Chrysler Building in New York, built 1928–1930 …   Wikipedia

  • Art Nouveau — Staircase of the Maison Atelier of Victor Horta. This building is one of four Horta designed town houses in Brussels that are together recognised by UNESCO as representing the highest expression of the influential Art Nouveau style in art and… …   Wikipedia

  • Carolingian art — Art produced in Europe during the reign of Charlemagne and his successors until с 900. The outstanding characteristic of the period was a revival of interest in Roman antiquity. Works of Byzantine art and architecture served as models.… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.