"By selecting some key works in the imaginary world of Western culture,
we have attempted to tell the history of a picture in each episode. In a word,
its genealogy. For every canvas has its ancestors and its descendants. It has
been born of dual technical and philosophical knowledge, has been nourished by a
long tradition. And the picture itself has engendered a multitude of other
images over the years...
In 26 minutes, virtually everything is examined with a fine-tooth comb: the description of the picture, the choice of backing materials, the chromatic system of each painter, the construction of the image, the location of the painting within the painter's life etc.
The pictures selected for the series all represent the work of a great painter. They have a relatively mysterious history and symbolism. Most have been recently analysed in the laboratory or restored.
The graphical palette permits these images to be transformed, i.e. part of the picture can be masked off, all the composition lines can be highlighted and thus the secret geometry of the painting can be revealed, making it possible to intervene directly on the photograph of the canvas like chalk on a blackboard.
A picture constitutes a series of enigmas. Why does a visitor come to look at it? Why has the painter chosen one framework rather than another? Why is a certain person making a certain gesture? Why such and such a colour, such and such an object?
Interweaving all these mysteries automatically engenders a whole series of stories, rather like The Thousand and One Nights. The documentary, which is such a discredited genre, albeit sometimes with justification, can be as gripping as a fictional film, even if it has no characters, no actors."
Alain Jaubert, designer and director of the series "Palettes"