Illuminated manuscripts from the Ottonian period produced in the monastery of Reichenau (Lake Constance).
These manuscripts epitomize book illustration from when Germany achieved artistic pre-eminence in Europe in the 9th-10th centuries, for the first time ever. The decline of the Carolingian Empire, political consolidation, renewal of the idea of the empire, and reform of the church all contributed to a period of cultural rise. The illustrations reflect the spirituality of the time and were influenced by paintings from Late Antiquity, the Carolingian period, and Byzantium; yet their intention was not imitation but creative new design. The manuscripts expansive cycles of miniatures on the life of Christ influenced art of subsequent centuries.