ART – Sunday, July 10 at 5.35 pm – Documentary
Far from the usual constraints of art history, Nicolas Othman offers a journey into the heart of a mysterious painting. His lively documentary is based on already proven technology The world in a painting, Vermeer’s hatreleased in 2020.
1618. I painted Velázquez Christ in the house of Martha and MaryAt first glance, a painting represents two women in the kitchen. The title comes from an inverted composition, in which Christ, Martha, and Mary appear in a window in the background. In the foreground we see in detail, a piece: a small red pepper on the table.
This highly pungent food, used in various cuisines, rituals and beliefs, both hated and adored, reached the Velazquez network for very specific reasons. The documentary encourages us to think, to see more, behind the scenes of this enigmatic painting more than it appears. It accurately and precisely reveals the true meaning of these small details that were not specific to the painter and his patrons.
Historical stories from Spain
Narrator François Morel takes us deeper into the tales of historical Spain to unveil the disasters that allowed this little pepper to be at the heart of the Velázquez network. It travels through history, recalling the raw and tragic realities that characterized Spanish colonization, the Inca massacre, the diseases the colonists brought there… – spice up their adventure.
Nicolas Othmann has found today’s commentators interested in this mysterious part of history and their history. The cook is familiar with the dish the chefs prepared on the plate: it is adobo – a typical Spanish fish marinade; A farmer with his family recounts the beliefs that have arisen about peppers; A young Mexican artist remembers her own quest for identity linked to her colonial ancestors; A priest invokes the Christianization of South America at the time of the arrival of the colonists.
Thanks to this little spice, the lower layers of Spanish colonial history are exposed to us in a totally unexpected and almost playful way. Every detail is important and allows us to understand the context of creating Velasquez’s work and the decisions and dilemmas that allowed the painting to exist.
The world in a plate, pepper VelázquezDocumentary by Nicola Othman (Fr., 2022, 80 min).
“Freelance reader. Passionate internet advocate. Prone to fits of apathy. Pop culture scholar.”