Merovingian art is the art of the Merovingian dynasty of the Franks, which lasted from the 5th century to the 8th century in present-day France, Benelux and a part of Germany. The advent of the Merovingian dynasty in Gaul in the 5th century led to important changes in the field of arts. Sculpture regressed to be little more than a simple technique for the ornamentation of sarcophagi, altars and ecclesiastical furniture. On the other hand, gold work and the new medium of manuscript illumination integrated "barbarian" animal-style decoration, with Late Antique motifs, and other contributions from as far as Syria or Ireland to constitute Merovingian art.
The unification of the Frankish kingdom under Clovis I (465–511) and his successors, corresponded with the need for the building of churches, and especially monastery churches, as these were now the power-houses of the Merovingian church. Plans often continued the Roman basilica tradition, but also took influences from as far away as Syria and Armenia. In the East, most structures were in timber, but stone was more common for significant buildings in the West and in the southern areas that later fell under Merovingian rule. Most major churches have been rebuilt, usually more than once, but many Merovingian plans have been reconstructed from archaeology.
The description in Bishop Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks of the basilica of Saint-Martin, built at Tours by Saint Perpetuus (bishop 460–490) at the beginning of the period and at the time on the edge of Frankish territory, gives cause to regret the disappearance of this building, one of the most beautiful Merovingian churches, which he says had 120 marble columns, towers at the East end, and several mosaics: "Saint-Martin displayed the vertical emphasis, and the combination of block-units forming a complex internal space and the correspondingly rich external silhouette, which were to be the hallmarks of the Romanesque".  A feature of the basilica of Saint-Martin that became a hallmark of Frankish church architecture was the sarcophagus or reliquary of the saint raised to be visible and sited axially behind the altar, sometimes in the apse. There are no Roman precedents for this Frankish innovation.  The Saint Peter's church in Vienne is the only surviving one. A number of other buildings, now lost, including the Merovingian foundations of Saint-Denis, St. Gereon in Cologne, and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, are described as similarly ornate.
Some small buildings remain, especially baptisteries, which fell out of fashion and were spared rebuilding. In Aix-en-Provence, Riez and Fréjus, three octagonal baptistries, each covered with a cupola on pillars, are testimony to the influence of oriental architecture (the baptistry of Riez, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, recalls that of St. George, Ezra', Syria). Very different from these Provençal baptistries, except for the quatrefoil one of Venasque, that of St. Jean at Poitiers (6th century) has the form of a rectangle flanked by three apses. The original building has probably undergone a number of alterations but preserves in its decoration (marble capitals) a Merovingian character.
Among the very many crypts, numerous due to the importance of the cult of saints at the time, only those of St. Seurin, Bordeaux, St. Laurent, Grenoble, and the abbey of Jouarre (7th century) survive.
By the 7th century, the abilities of Merovingian craftsmen must have been well regarded, as they were brought to England to re-introduce glass making skills, and Merovingian stonemasons were used to build English churches.  Merovingian masons also employed the opus gallicum extensively and are responsible for bringing it to England and bequeathing it to the Normans, who brought it to Italy.
Very few Merovingian illuminated manuscripts survive, of which the most richly decorated is the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary in the Vatican Library, which has geometric and animal decoration, less complex than that of the Insular art of the British Isles, but like it derived from metalwork motifs, with some influence from Late Antiquity and the Near-East. The principal centres were the Abbey of Luxeuil, an Irish foundation, and later its daughter house at Corbie Abbey.
A large Merovingian art collection in Berlin was taken by Soviet troops to Russia, where it remains to this day.   
Soissons is a commune in the northern French department of Aisne, in the region of Hauts-de-France. Located on the river Aisne, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Paris, it is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones. Soissons is also the see of an ancient Roman Catholic diocese, whose establishment dates from about 300, and it was the location of a number of church synods called "Council of Soissons".
A crypt is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics.
Anglo-Saxon architecture was a period in the history of architecture in England, and parts of Wales, from the mid-5th century until the Norman Conquest of 1066. Anglo-Saxon secular buildings in Britain were generally simple, constructed mainly using timber with thatch for roofing. No universally accepted example survives above ground.
Rose window is often used as a generic term applied to a circular window, but is especially used for those found in Gothic cathedrals and churches. The windows are divided into segments by stone mullions and tracery. The term rose window was not used before the 17th century and according to the Oxford English Dictionary, among other authorities, comes from the English flower name rose.
In Christian architecture the baptistery or baptistry is the separate centrally planned structure surrounding the baptismal font. The baptistery may be incorporated within the body of a church or cathedral, and provided with an altar as a chapel. In the early Church, the catechumens were instructed and the sacrament of baptism was administered in the baptistery.
Pre-Romanesque art and architecture is the period in European art from either the emergence of the Merovingian kingdom in about 500 AD or from the Carolingian Renaissance in the late 8th century, to the beginning of the 11th century Romanesque period. The term is generally used in English only for architecture and monumental sculpture, but here all the arts of the period are briefly described.
Lérins Abbey is a Cistercian monastery on the island of Saint-Honorat, one of the Lérins Islands, on the French Riviera, with an active monastic community.
The Abbey of Echternach is a Benedictine monastery in the town of Echternach, in eastern Luxembourg. The Abbey was founded in the 7th century by St Willibrord, the patron saint of Luxembourg. For three hundred years, it benefited from the patronage of a succession of rulers, and was the most powerful institution in Luxembourg.
Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.
French architecture consists of numerous architectural styles that either originated in France or elsewhere and were developed within the territories of France.
Gothic architecture appeared in the prosperous independent city-states of Italy in the 12th century, later than in Northern Europe.In fact,unkike in other regions of Europe,it didn’t replace Romanesque architecture,and Italian architects weren’t very influenced by it.However,each city developed its own particular variations of the style. Italian architects preferred to keep the traditional construction methods established in the previous centuries; architectural solutions and technical innovations of French Gothic were seldom used. Soaring height was less important than in Northern Europe. Brick rather than stone was the most common building material, and marble was widely used for decoration. In the 15th century, when the Gothic style dominated northern Europe and Italy, the north of the Italian Peninsula became the birthplace of Renaissance architecture.
The opus gallicum was a technique of construction whereby precise holes were created in stone masonry for the insertion of wooden beams to create a wooden infrastructure. The technique was so named because, though its presence is attested in protohistoric times, its use was common enough in Gaul to merit mention in Julius Caesar's De bello Gallico and was frequently employed in the Merovingian era. The technique was imported by the Normans into the Molise, where it was used extensively in the raising of castles in a short time. Gaulish masons are even known to have brought the technique from Merovingian Francia to Anglo-Saxon England during the 7th and 8th centuries and employed it in church architecture.
Fréjus Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of Fréjus in the Var department of Provence, southeast France, and dedicated to Saint Leontius of Fréjus.
The architecture of Provence includes a rich collection of monuments from the Roman era, Cistercian monasteries from the Romanesque period, medieval castles and fortifications, as well as numerous hilltop villages and fine churches. Provence was a very poor region after the 18th century, but in the 20th century it had an economic revival and became the site of one of the most influential buildings of the 20th century, the Unité d'Habitation of the architect Le Corbusier in Marseille.
Jouarre Abbey is a Benedictine abbey in Jouarre in the département of Seine-et-Marne.
The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Monkwearmouth–Jarrow, known simply as Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey, was a Benedictine double monastery in the Kingdom of Northumbria, England.
Agilberta, also known as Aguilberta of Jouarre and Gilberta of Jouarre, is a Benedictine French saint, venerated in both the Roman Catholic Church and Antiochian Orthodox Church. She was a nun and the second abbess of the Jouarre Abbey, in the département of Seine-et-Marne. Agilberta was a relative of Ebrigisil and Ado, who founded Jouarre in 660. Her brother, Agilbert, was bishop of Paris. Agilberta's sister, Balda, was Jouarre's third abbess.
The Basilica and Cathedral of Saint-Étienne in Paris, on the Île de la Cité, was an early Christian church that preceded Notre-Dame de Paris. It was built in the 4th or 5th century, directly in front of the location of the modern cathedral, and just 250 meters from the royal palace. It became one of the wealthiest and most prestigious churches in France. Nothing remains above the ground of the original cathedral. It was demolished beginning in about 1163, when construction began on Notre-Dame de Paris. Vestiges of the foundations remain beneath the pavement of the square in front of Notre-Dame and beneath the west front of the cathedral. The church was built and rebuilt over the years in the Merovingian, Carolingian and Romanesque architectural styles.