Publications of Stéphanie Derwael
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See detailLa tête végétalisée dans la mosaïque romaine. Remise en contexte et identifications
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Lettre de l'AFEMA (in press)

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See detailThe Peopled Scroll of the Great Palace Mosaic in Constantinople. New Perspectives
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in JMR : Uludag University Journal of Mosaic Research (2021), 14

The mosaic of the Great Palace peristyle in Constantinople is one of the most important artworks of Late Antique and Early Byzantine art. It has been studied by many researchers, but its border with ... [more ▼]

The mosaic of the Great Palace peristyle in Constantinople is one of the most important artworks of Late Antique and Early Byzantine art. It has been studied by many researchers, but its border with foliate heads has never really been considered. Four of the foliate heads have survived. They show two types of vegetalisations: a radiant one, and another where the heads are entwined in a scroll. The scrolls, alternately facing upwards and downwards, emerge from leafy windings resembling a cornucopia. Young sprouts emerge from the acanthus leaves, spawning into fine flowers or fruits, while all sorts of animals evolve in the foliage. The central panel of the pavement is made up of hunting scenes, animal fights, children's games, bucolic, rural, or mythological scenes, or even fabulous creatures. The foliate head appears in Rome in the 1st century BC. From the 1st century AD onwards, it penetrates the various regions of the Empire as a result of their economic, socio-political and urban development. Local cultural specificities and iconographic traditions determine different levels of appropriation of the motif. On the East side of the Mediterranean Sea, the craftsmen of the Levantine coast seem to have quickly developed a specific use of the foliate head: its insertion in a rinceau frieze. From the second half of the 2nd century AD this type of foliage is used in the borders of domestic pavements, in the public rooms of rich houses where the luxury and culture of the local elites manifested themselves. The scrolls give a superhuman dimension to the decorative program of these pavements, a symbolic value along with the notions of prosperity and abundance, that derive from the owners' lifestyle and ensure its continuity. However, the themes of the central panels, whether civilising heroes, heroic hunts, pastoral, mythological, or interior scenes, also celebrate a virtuous and moderate way of living, a pious relationship with nature and the benefits of civilisation, marking the victory of order over chaos. In this context, foliate heads celebrate a prosperous nature, feared but revered, a prodigious original nature made beneficial and calling for a rebirth. They can therefore evoke, and call for, an idyllic golden age. The fact that only a head is depicted, and not the whole body, is also meaningful: the motif symbolises the origin, the very essence of the vital impulse. While the use of the foliate head diminishes in the various regions of the Roman world from the 4th century AD onwards, sculptors and mosaicists in the Eastern provinces continue to show a certain creativity. In the provinces of Judea and Arabia, mosaicists responsible for decorating Christian churches and funerary monuments of the 6th century AD inherit the repertoire used by their predecessors in the domestic context, in particular the border with foliate heads. During the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the foliate head is also used in the repertoire of Eastern architectural sculpture in the Bosphorus and its surroundings, especially in Constantinople. Like on the Great Palace mosaic, the motif is here associated with a cornucopia emerging from acanthus leaves, and fruits, and the heads show a radiant vegetalisation, or are topped by the leaves of the foliage. Examination of the Roman foliate heads shows that the border of the Grand Palais mosaic is part of a vast corpus. In Constantinople itself, architectural sculpture of the 6th century AD offers precise parallels and seems to reflect a period of renewed interest in the motif. This type of border also appears in Christian pavements of the Levantine coast at the same time. Examination of the corpus of earlier Levantine pavements shows that this type of border was already associated with various scenes emphasising prosperity, the victory of order over chaos and a virtuous life. Similarly, the use of the motif in the imperial sphere is not new, and Arcadius' column offers a Constantinopolitan example of this. Within this vast corpus of foliate heads, there is moreover one example that constitutes a particularly interesting point of comparison: the House of the Falconer in Argos. Two of the three remaining mosaics decorate the porticoes of the courtyard, and the scrolls, although very stylised, are identical. The mosaic of the Great Palace in Constantinople reflects the tastes and values of an elite whose education and lifestyle are still imbued with the thought system of the Antiquity. The mosaicists juxtapose themes specific to this cultured environment, drawn here and there from the arts, literature, or the model of contemporary royal gardens, and assemble them in a composition of unprecedented size, which testifies to their ability to juggle with motifs of secular origin. Whether it is the border or the central panel, this pavement, which is at the crossroads of Eastern and Western influences, appears as the vector of the classical tradition in a context of claiming the ancient culture and heritage of the Roman Empire. The purpose of the mosaic is certainly to convey an image of the world over which the emperor reigns. A world torn between violence and ferocity on the one hand, and a peaceful and generous nature on the other, a dichotomy implying that one must fight for order and tranquillity. Nature and landscape evoke, by metonymy, the idyllic empire over which the emperor brings peace and prosperity. The border of the mosaics evokes an eternal golden age and includes the topical elements of abundance. In such a program, the use of foliate heads is significant. Their hybridity certainly reinforces the message of prosperity and idyllic harmony conveyed by the central panel. Moreover, they appear as a strong motif of peopled scrolls, and thus of this ancient cultural tradition which is valued here. They are part of a repertoire considered as representative of Roman iconography by the Byzantine craftsmen of an imperial workshop. [less ▲]

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See detailFormes humano-végétales de Gaules et de Germanies : le mythe de l’héritage celtique
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Scientific conference (2021, February 18)

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See detailCorpus des têtes végétalisées
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Textual, factual or bibliographical database (2021)

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See detailLa tête végétalisée dans les décors romains : origine d’un thème ornemental
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Book published by Brepols (2021)

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See detailLa tête végétalisée dans la mosaïque romaine. Remise en contexte et identifications
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Scientific conference (2020, February 22)

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See detailLes Gètes et les Daces. Deux tribus thraces au nord du Danube
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Conference given outside the academic context (2020)

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See detailGriekse kolonies in Dobrudja. Welvarende en felbegeerde steden aan de Zwarte Zee
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Conference given outside the academic context (2019)

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See detailStonehenge. Au-delà du mystère
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Conference given outside the academic context (2019)

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See detailDacia Felix. Het roemrijke verleden van Roemenië
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege; Demarsin, Bart

Book published by Snoeck (2019)

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See detailDacia Felix. Grandeurs de la Roumanie antique
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege; Demarsin, Bart

Book published by Snoeck (2019)

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See detailDes Blattmasken dans la Rome carolingienne. Entre remploi et imitation
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Actes du IXe Congrès de l’Association des Cercles francophones d’Histoire et d’Archéologie de Belgique et du LVIe congrès de la Fédération des cercles d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de Belgique, Congrès de Liège 23-26 août 2012, II-3 (2017)

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See detailAu coeur des débats. La diffusion des têtes végétalisées dans les décors de « IVe style »,
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Moormann, Eric M.; Mols, Stephan T.A.M. (Eds.) Context and Meaning Proceedings of the twelfth International Conference of the Association Internationale pour la Peinture Murale Antique, Athens, September 16-20, 2013 (2017)

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See detailEntre traditions et innovations. La tête végétalisée dans les décors romains: origine, diffusion et signification d'un thème ornemental
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

Doctoral thesis (2016)

La tête végétalisée est un témoin privilégié de la culture visuelle des Romains. Innovation de l’époque tardo-républicaine et proto-impériale, elle n’en demeure pas moins l’héritière du traitement formel ... [more ▼]

La tête végétalisée est un témoin privilégié de la culture visuelle des Romains. Innovation de l’époque tardo-républicaine et proto-impériale, elle n’en demeure pas moins l’héritière du traitement formel de figures telles que la Rankenfrau et le Rankengott et d’un symbolisme végétal séculaire. Elle évoque une nature naissante ou renaissante qui ne possède pas encore les frontières du cosmos ordonné, et fonctionne comme une épithète iconographique permettant de mettre en évidence un aspect particulier d’un personnage, tel le dieu Oceanus. L’étude des spécificités culturelles et des traditions iconographiques des différentes régions de l’Empire romain, couplée à la mise en série et à l’analyse contextualisée des documents, permet de mettre en évidence les formes de diffusion, de réception et d’appropriation de ce thème ornemental, de sa naissance à son assimilation par le monde chrétien. A côté de tendances relativement homogènes communes à l’Empire, se dessinent quelques courants particuliers, comme l’enrichissement nord-africain de la forme océanique, le renouveau oriental de la bordure à rinceau peuplé héritée de la tradition picturalisante hellénistique, ou « l’humanisation du végétal » gallo-germanique. Entre traditions et innovations, la tête végétalisée du monde romain développe des spécificités iconographiques pérennes qui lui confèrent une signification inhérente à toute forme d’hybridité végétale, tout en permettant à différentes visions du monde de s’exprimer en elle sans se dissoudre. [less ▲]

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See detailLa diffusion des Blattmasken dans le bassin Méditerranéen. Entre tradition et innovation
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Actes du 3ème colloque international « Le répertoire décoratif et iconographique en Méditerranée antique et médiévale », Institut Supérieur des Sciences Humaines de Tunis, 2-4 décembre 2013 (2016)

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See detailAux frontières du réel : les Blattmasken dans le système ornemental romain
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Les cahiers de l'Ornement (2016), 1

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See detailBlattmasken. Un motif iconographique mêlant frontalité et dynamisme végétal
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in MethIS: Méthodes et Interdisciplinarité en Sciences Humaines (2016), 5

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See detailLes Blattmasken océaniques dans la mosaïque pariétale. Nymphées et bassins domestiques
Derwael, Stéphanie ULiege

in Trovabene, Giordana (Ed.) Atti del XII Colloquio AIEMA Venezia, 11-15 settembre 2012, (2015)

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