Award details

Irina Ridzuan

Department: Art History & Visual Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Evanthia Baboula


"Garden of Déduit: The Influence of Byzantine Gardens on the Roman de Ia Rose

The Roman de Ia Rose is a 13th century French poem, written by Guillaume de Lorris and later completed by Jean de Meun, about a young man's dream of a guarded garden and his conquest of a rose. The allegorical themes and literary devices employed by the poets have led scholars to attribute the renaissance of the Hellenistic romance genre in 12th century Byzantium as the source of literary inspiration. However, little attention has been paid to the accompanying illustrations of the manuscripts in regards to this thesis.

This research proposes to examine the poem's illustrated garden setting, the Garden of Déduit, in the light of Byzantine garden representations. Byzantine illustrations are related to the ambiguous perception of a garden as an Edenic space and an earthly pleasure place. I argue that French painters made use of that Byzantine-derived ambiguity as a thematic device that strengthens the poem's allegorical nature. I will locate this project within the relationship between France and Byzantium after the siege of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204. This was a catalytic event that brought Byzantine and earlier Greek traditions into the French arts and literature scene, and one  that is  becoming an area of academic focus.

This project aims to situate Byzantine aesthetics into the artistic and cultural changes in medieval art that later brought about the European Renaissance."