Department of Germanic Studies

Susanne Thea: Paraphrase of the Bayeux Tapestry – a modern war story

A pictorial frieze by Susanne Thea

Mon, February 15, 2010 | Conference Room Burdine Hall 337

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM


From 2 December 2006 until 7 January 2007 the multi-artist Susanne Thea is exhibiting a 72-metre-long
pictorial frieze, in which she retells and modernises the story of the Battle of Hastings. She goes behind
the facade of the famous French tapestry, with a detailed portrayal of the consequences of war for the
ordinary man on the street.

Creative interpretation
There are kings, Viking ships, mythical beasts, soldiers bearing shields and spears, castles, churches, war
and peace in Susanne Thea’s pictorial frieze – but there are also passionate love scenes, overweight
priests, supernatural beings, and far more women than the Bayeux Tapestry itself ever dreamed of

There is a greater depth in the motifs, the faces of the figures are more life-like, and the real man behind
the facade of the soldier can be seen. The frieze is 72 metres long, and includes 90 colour images printed
on copper-plate etchings.

There is plenty of creative interpretation – a paraphrase focusing on Susanne Thea’s main interest, which
is what went on behind the scenes in the story of the battle between Duke William and King Harold.

A lifelong project
Susanne Thea has been working on her pictorial frieze for more than three years, and will continue her
work when the exhibition is over.

“I am now totally fascinated by the project, and I’m constantly finding new angles that can be brought to
life in the shape of new figures, new patterns and new copper-plate techniques. So I’m nowhere near
finished with the Bayeux Tapestry yet. Who knows – I may even be able to exhibit a new version of my
paraphrase in ten years’ time”.

Next year Susanne Thea is publishing a book about her pictorial frieze, complete with comments,
thoughts and dialogues to add substance to the pictures and help bring them to life even more.

Susanne Thea:
Susanne Thea (born 1954) is a visual artist, musician, composer, author and illustrator.

Sponsored by: The Department of Germanic Studies

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