Coming down from Piazza del Popolo along S. Prassede Street, turn right in Via delle Mura Antiche 25 and you will find an artwork unique in the world: the so called Painted House.
This small townhouse dates back to the 19th century and is composed by three floors with kitchen, diningroom, livingroom, bedroom and bathroom.
The owners are Patrick Ireland (alias Bryan O'Doherty), a well known artist, and his wife ,Barbara Novak, a famous art historian.
The house is a lived environment for them : they usually spent a part of the month of September here in Todi, while during the year they live between NY and Dublin.
They bought the house in 1975 and in 1977 the painter begun to paint the house walls and after more than 30 years the painted house is a living artwork which is always in process.
O'Doherty begun signing his works under the name Patrick Ireland as a protest to the Bloody Sunday (killing of 14 irish unarmed peace marchers by the British Army) occurred in Derry in 1972: he finally decided to leave his alter ego in 2008, in recognition of the progress for peace in Ireland.
O'Doherty was a pioneer of the conceptual and minimal art, but he choose a very unconventional way of expressing it in the painted house: he rediscovered the ancient irish language called Ogham which translates the 20 letters of the Roman alphabet into strokes.
With this old alphabet he wrote everywhere only three words, the only ones which describes every human being: ONE HERE NOW.
In the house you will also find four original installations.
In short, The Painted House is really something unique, something that is impossible to describe with words: it is something to be seen by everyone because everyone is an "I", living "Here" and not elsewhere, and lives "Now," not in the past or in the future.
Just one last thing: the house is deeply soaked with the love that binds the artist to his wife and vice versa. Both me and my colleague, Luca Antonini, were very impressed by the unity of Bryan and Barbara and by the kindness with which they welcomed us into their home with table laid for breakfast, coffee bought for us and many other small details that made us decide to collaborate on this project.
And their happyness and emotion at the end of the open day (October 11th) was something unique!
Photogallery of the Opening of The Painted House, October 11th 2011
Download the Brochure of the Painted House
The house can be visited for a fee and by appointment by contacting www.todiguide.com
Elisa Picchiotti 3894246262
Do you want to buy the monograph on Patrick Ireland by Brenda Moore-McCann (See the photo above)? You can find it in www.lundhumphries.com or www.ashgate.com or www.amazon.com writing the author's name!