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The Coronation of Charlemagne
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Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
German, 1840
Brown ink over graphite
13 1/16 x 23 9/16 in.
2009.5

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Charlemagne laid the foundations of the Holy Roman Empire, the league of central European, mostly German-speaking lands that lasted for a millennium. This grand, multifigured composition celebrates one of the great events of German history, when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne the first Holy Roman Emperor in Rome in the year 800. The drawing was preparatory for a fresco, commissioned by Ludwig I, king of Bavaria, for the royal palace in Munich. The subject emphasized the religious and political bonds between Italy and Catholic Germany.