“The world in a painting, Velazquez pepper”, a spicy documentary on Arte

After the hats of Vermeer, the documentary maker Nicolas Autheman attacks Velazquez’s chilli! A tiny detail in appearance, of which his film reveals all the mysteries, with the tasty voice of François Morel.


Far from the usual shackles of art history, Nicolas Autheman offers a trip to the heart of a mysterious painting. His very lively documentary adopts the technique already adopted in Le Monde in a painting, the hats of Vermeer, released in 2020.

1618. Velazquez paints Christ in the house of Marthe and Marie, a canvas representing two women in the kitchen at first glance. The title comes from a reversed composition, Christ, Marthe and Marie appearing in a window in the background. In the foreground is offered to us a detail, a fragment: a small red pepper placed on the table.

This extremely spicy food, used in different kitchens, rites, beliefs, both hated and adored, arrived in the canvas of Velazquez for very specific reasons. The documentary encourages to think, to see further, behind the scenes of this more enigmatic canvas than it seems. He reveals, with precision and thoroughness, the real sense of this small detail which was not one for the painter and his sponsors.

The narrator François Morel takes us to the depths of the historical stories of Spain to discover the debacles which allowed this little pepper to be in the heart of the canvas of Velazquez. He travels through history, recalling the raw and tragic realities that marked Spanish colonization, the Massacre of Incas, the diseases brought there by the colonists … and these peppers they reported on their return, as if to give … pepper to their adventure.

/Media reports.