Tutilo a monk of St. Gall and celebrated artist, was contemporary with the great teachers Notker Balbulus and Radbert of St. Gall, and associated with them in friendship and in the work of making St. Gall the foremost seat of the arts and sciences in their day. He was of gigantic stature and full of joyous humor; a magister and presbyter according to the necrology, but none the less a born artist and unquestioned genius. Driven into the world by his artist nature, he nevertheless preserved his piously simple and blameless life. In the monastery itself his strength and geniality determined his position. He was its butler and sacristan, and also the host and companion of visiting strangers, serving in the latter capacity down to A.D. 912.
The Irish bishop or presbyter Mark, and his nephew Moengal (the latter preferably called Marcellus by the monks), visited St. Gall in the middle of the 9th century; and Moengal instructed Tutilo, among others, in the art of music until he became a proficient composer. As an instrumentalist and vocalist he captivated the ear and the heart. He became himself a teacher of music, and in a separate room gave regular instruction to the sons of the nobility in the use of stringed instruments. Nor did he confine himself to sacred music only; but his finest laurels were still gathered in that field. He imitated the Scottish custom of associating instrumental music with vocal in the worship of the Church, and carried it further. Some of the instruments used in the small chapel of St. Gall are pictured in old MSS. which are still extant. His own most especial creation were the so called tropes, i.e. ornamental melodic additions, with texts, to the hymns of the mass, and particularly to its Introit, which were intended to impart a specifically festive character to the hymns for festal days. His Christmas trope Hodie Cantandus is well known. These tropes were widely received and used throughout the Church, and were perpetuated, under various modifications, down to the 17th century. He also composed hymns and litanies (see the St. Gall MSS. Nos. 37 and 380).
The genius of Tutilo was displayed with equal force in the arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture. He had the independence to work from new, indigenous motives as well as from Roman and Byzantine models and after a traditional type. His fame extended widely, and made it the fashion to procure works from his hand. A statue of the Virgin Mary, erected by him at Metz, was wrought in so exalted a manner as to give currency to the report that the Virgin herself was his instructor. Of his carvings the ivory tables, which Charlemagne kept under his pillow, are especially celebrated. They passed into the hands of archbishop Hatto of Mayence, then into those of Solomon, abbot of St. Gall, and from him into the possession of the monastery. One of them was smooth, and upon its upper surface Tutilo carved the Virgin between four angels, while its lower surface received a portrayal of the legend of St. Gall, in which the saint gives bread to his obedient bear in reward for his labor of bearing wood for fuel. Stumpf, the ancient Swiss chronicler, mentions also an astronomical chart of brass upon which the orbits of the heavenly bodies were beautifully marked, as having been one of Tutilo's masterpieces and as being still in existence in his day. It is now, however, lost. On Tutilo's death he was buried in a chapel which was dedicated to his memory and called by his name; and he was venerated as a saint. The documents of the 11th and 12th centuries always speak of him as a saint; but his worship was soon lost. Sources. — Ekkehard IV (d. 1056), Casus Sancti Galli, reprinted in Pertz, Monum. Germaniae, vol. 2; Arx, Gesch. d. Kantons Sanct Gallen (1810), pt. 1, p. 97-100; Hefele, Wiss. Zustandimsiidw. Deutschlcnd u. in d. nordl. Schweiz, in Theol. Quartalschr. 1838, No. 2. See also Dtmmler, Formelbuch d. Bischofs Salomo III von Constanz, p. 114; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.