Portrait of Charlemagne by Albrecht DürerPublic Domain
This is a collection of portraits, statues, and other images related to Charlemagne, many of which are in the public domain and are free for your use.
No contemporary illustrations of Charlemagne exist, but a description provided by his friend and biographer Einhard has inspired numerous portraits and statues. Included here are works by famous artists such as Raphael Sanzio and Albrecht Dürer, statues in cities whose histories are firmly tied to Charlemagne, depictions of important events in his reign, and a look at his signature.
Albrecht Dürer was a prolific artist of the Northern European Renaissance. He was heavily influenced by both Renaissance and Gothic art, and he turned his talents to depicting the historic emperor who had once reigned over his homeland.02of 19
Charles le GrandThis is a post-medieval portrait from Bibliothèque Nationale de France Charles le Grand. Public Domain
This lighter depiction of the monarch, which resides in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, shows an aged, slender figure in rich attire that was hardly likely to have been worn by the Frankish king.03of 19
Charlemagne in Stained Glass
Vassil / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
This stained-glass depiction of the king can be found at the Cathedral in Moulins, France.04of 19
The King with the Grizzly BeardPublic Domain
The Song of Roland - one of the earliest and most renowned chansons de geste - tells the story of a brave warrior who fought and died for Charlemagne at the Battle of Roncesvalles. The poem describes Charlemagne as "the King with the Grizzly Beard." This image is a reproduction of a 16th-century engraving of the grizzly-bearded king.05of 19
Carlo MagnoPublic Domain
This illustration, which depicts Charles in fairly intricate crown and armor, was published in Grande illustrazione del Lombardo-Veneto ossia storia delle città, dei borghi, comuni, castelli, ecc. fino ai tempi moderni, Corona and Caimi, Editors, 185806of 19
Pope Adrian Asks for Charlemagne's HelpPublic Domain
When Charlemagne's brother Carloman died in 771, his widow took her sons to Lombardy. The King of the Lombards attempted to get Pope Adrian I to anoint Carloman's sons as kings of the Franks. Resisting this pressure, Adrian turned to Charlemagne for help. Here he is depicted asking for aid from the king at a meeting near Rome.
Charlemagne did indeed help the pope, invading Lombardy, besieging the capital city of Pavia, and eventually defeating the Lombard king and claiming that title for himself.
Just for fun, try a jigsaw puzzle of this picture.07of 19
Charlemagne Crowned by Pope LeoPublic Domain
This illumination from a medieval mansucript shows Charles kneeling and Leo placing the crown on his head.08of 19
Sacre de CharlemagneIllumination, by Jean Fouquet Coronation of Charles, 800 C.E. Public Domain
From the Grandes Chroniques de France, this illumination by Jean Fouquet was made around 1455 - 1460.09of 19
The Coronation of CharlemagneLush depiction by Raphael Sanzio Raphael's Depiction of the Coronation, 800 C.E. Public Domain
Crowded with bishops and onlookers, this depiction of the important event of 800 C.E. by Raphael was painted in about 1516 or 1517.10of 19
Charlemagne and Pippin the HunchbackTenth-century depiction of Charlemagne and his illegitimate son Charles and Son and Scribe. Public Domain
This 10th-century work is actually a copy of a lost 9th-century original. It depicts Charlemagne meeting with his illegitimate son, Pippin the Hunchback, whom a conspiracy had sought to place on the throne. The original was made in Fulda between 829 and 836 for Eberhard von Friaul.11of 19
Charlemagne Depicted With Popes Gelasius I and Gregory IPublic Domain
The above work is from the sacramentary of Charles the Bald, Charlemagne's grandson, and was probably made c. 870.12of 19
Equestrian Statue in ParisPublic Domain
Paris - and, for that matter, all of France - can claim Charlemagne for his important role in the development of the nation. But it's not the only country that can do so.13of 19
Charlemagne Statue in ParisPhoto by Rama
Here's a closer view of the equestrian statue in Paris from a slightly different angle.
This photograph is available under the terms of the the CeCILL license.14of 19
Karl der GroßPhoto by Florian "Flups" Baumann
Like France, Germany can also lay claim to Charlemagne (Karl der Groß) as an important figure in their history.
This photograph is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.15of 19
Statue of Charlemagne in Aachen
This statue of Charlemagne in armor stands outside the city hall of Aachen. The palace at Aachen was Charlemagne's favorite residence, and his tomb can be found at the Aachen Cathedral.
This photograph is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.16of 19
Equestrian Statue at Liege
This equestrian statue of Charlemagne in the center of Liege, Belgium, includes depictions of six of his ancestors around the base. The ancestors, who came from Liege, are Saint Begga, Pippin of Herstal, Charles Martel, Bertruda, Pippin of Landen, and Pippin the Younger.
This photograph is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.17of 19
Statue of Charlemagne at Liege
Jacques Renier / Creative Commons
This photo concentrates on the statue of Charlemagne itself. For more about the base, see the previous photo.18of 19
Charlemagne in Zurich
Daniel Baumgartner / Creative Commons
This imposing figure of the emperor is on the southern tower of the Grossmünster chruch in Zurich, Switzerland.19of 19
Charlemagne's SignaturePublic Domain
Einhard wrote of Charlemagne that he "tried to write, and used to keep tablets and blanks in bed under his pillow, that at leisure hours he might accustom his hand to form the letters; however, as he did not begin his efforts in due season, but late in life, they met with ill success."
When Charlemagne visited the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine elites were amused by his rough "barbarian" dress and the stencil he used to sign his name.