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“My goal is to enrich the viewer’s gaze”

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It is one of those books which opens up horizons, which sweeps history through the eye, which sheds an enthusiastic light on painting, and which reconciles the reader with art criticism: “Plural paintings” by Laurent Fabius, is subtitled “Journey among the polyptychs of yesterday and today”. Vast program, which the President of the Constitutional Council has set himself, in a hitherto unexplored area. Starting from the 12th century altarpieces, the author takes a curious look at a whole unknown area: that of the paintings “plurals”, which disassemble into a puzzle, which are made up of several pieces, which open like windows or which dialogue between different frames. The form knew rich hours under the Quattrocento and in the XVth century, (Van Eyck, Robert Campin, Van der Weyden), before changing, passing from the religious universe to the profane universe (Jérôme Bosch) then settling in the 19th century from a resolutely terrestrial, even social perspective (Charles Cottet, Paul Sérusier, Edouard Vuillard). In contemporary art, artists like Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly or Pierre Soulages have taken up the concept of the polyptych, breathing a new spirituality into it. Laurent Fabius walks a light erudition in this colorful world, thereby asking crucial questions about the very foundations of visual art: what is the frame? What are our habits of reading an image? How did the void between the various components of the plural table arise?

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