Continuity and Change of Book Illumination during the Eleventh Century

Since the tenth century, reforms were started in the monasteries which led to a particular care for the liturgy. The monastery of Echternach eventually replaced Reichenau as producer of imperial manuscripts under Emperor Heinrich III (1093–1056, emperor from 1064).

Gradually also the scriptorium of Tegernsee gained in importance. It was mainly employed for the bishops of Freising. In the middle of the eleventh century, Freising itself created its own kind of branch school of Tegernsee book illumination which in its style and motifs remained closely connected to Tegernsee. Typical for the so-called "Bayerische Klosterschule" (Bavarian Monastic School) are the initials with scrollwork and flowers at the tips of the tendrils, decorative architectural casing as well as ornamental pictorial miniatures. Monastery Niederaltaich was probably yet another important book centre – the loss of its mediaeval library means, however, that little is known about this fact.

The manuscripts of the gospel books were at the top of magnificent book illuminations with miniatures of the eleventh century. In centres with substantial production such as Tegernsee this dominance continued well into the twelfth century. In other places, a decrease of illuminated luxury manuscripts as well as a decline in quality is ascertainable. Linear shapes and schematisation push out the spatial and sculptural.

(cf: Elisabeth Klemm, "Die Handschriften der Karolingerzeit." In: Pracht auf Pergament. Schätze der Buchmalerei von 780 bis 1180. Exhibition catalogue. Munich 2012, pp. 198–205.)

The other part collections of "Splendour on Parchment" available in bavarikon

>> This collection is part of the holdings of "Splendour on Parchment" of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) and of the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (State Library Bamberg).