What is the Arcade in Ottonian Architecture?

February 11, 2023

what is the arcade in ottonian architecture

What is the arcade in ottonian architecture?

The arcade was a sequence of arches supported by columns that were used to divide space, create covered walkways, and provide structural support within buildings. It was also a common feature in churches and monasteries.

Ottonian Metalwork

Ottonians were renowned for their metalwork, producing pieces that ranged from jewel-encrusted objects of precious metals to large-scale bronze reliefs of stylized yet dramatic figures. One of the most famous pieces is the Bernward Doors, a pair of church doors that feature biblical scenes in bronze relief.

Religious Buildings

Ottonian churches generally adopted a variation on the Roman basilica, which was a central nave with aisles at each side and an apse at one end. Aside from this, they were typically shaped like a cross and incorporated features such as round arch construction, flat ceilings, and modular planning that reflected the Ottonians’ high regard for mathematical harmony.


The manuscripts of the Ottonian period are considered to be more advanced than their predecessors, primarily because they developed a rounded script that was easier to read and less cumbersome to produce. These manuscripts often eschew naturalism for a more abstract style, conveying deeper philosophical and theological concepts.

Book Covers

Ottonians produced some of the finest book covers in the world, displaying a plethora of intricate designs and rich ornamentation. Some of the most exquisite examples are found in manuscripts from the monasteries of Corvey, Hildesheim, and Regensburg. The Codex Aureus of Echternach (1030-1050) is a lavish illuminated manuscript that is attributed to the Liuthar Circle, an artistic group who worked in the monastery at Reichenau. Its cover consists of an ivory plaque with a crucifixion scene set in alternating units of gold filigree encrusted with gems and cloisonne enamel.


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