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Images et société à Reichenau, vers l’an mil : les peintures d’Oberzell et les manuscrits apparentés

Barbara Franzé

Published online:

17 Jun 2021



The iconography of the wall paintings of the church of Saint George at Oberzell on Reichenau Island, specimens of Pre-Romanesque frescoes variously dated between the end of the ninth century and around the year 1000, and its underlying program remain contested, if not elusive. An exegetical reading of the eight scenes chosen to decorate the walls of the church, however, gives a unitary, programmatic meaning to the décor: an image of the Ecclesia, of the society of the faithful, the decoration enhances the priesthood and recalls its necessary intermediation in the access to salvation. These are the same intentions which shape the illuminated manuscripts of the Liuthar group, especially the Bamberg Collection (Msc. Bibl. 22). As conceived by the Benedictine monks of Reichenau, the project of an ecclesiastical society as propagated in the murals is similar to that promoted shortly before the year 1000 by Cluny and Fleury.

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