The Romanesque Period (12th Century)

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).

The Ottonian book illumination lasted beyond the Saxonian rulers well into the Salic period. Therefore, the transition from the Ottonian to the Romanesque art cannot be put to an exact date. The twelfth century experienced in the entire western world an enormous intensity of the intellectual, religious, economic and social life. On the one hand stood the engagement with scholasticism, philosophy and logic, on the other a theology tending towards music and contemplation under the influence of Bernhard of Clairvaux (1090–1153).

The rich manuscript preservation of the twelfth century had primarily to do with the intellectual climate of the era. An increase of writing activity also happened by means of the foundation of new orders such as the Cistercians and of Augustinian Cano7ns. The newly created monasteries furnish their libraries with copies of manuscripts.

The book illumination oriented itself stylistically newly by an extension of themes and content as well as by an independent pictorial invention. The figures became more lively and sculptural, the garments more flowing. By means of trade and crusades, Byzantine influences affected the design of figures.

In the field of exegetic literature, pen drawings gained increased importance, in particular for the depiction of more complex thoughts. Typical for this time, are the illustrations of large-format bibles and an increased veneration of the Virgin Mary. A further trait of Romanesque book illumination are allegorical images to explain complex content of knowledge and symbolical connections. Gradually, vernacular texts had been composed and disseminated.

(cf: Elisabeth Klemm, "Die Handschriften der Karolingerzeit." In: Pracht auf Pergament. Schätze der Buchmalerei von 780 bis 1180. Exhibition catalogue. Munich 2012, pp. 252–263.)

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