Of the many elements that make Todi a crucial reference point for contemporary art, in Umbria and further afield, the Painted House is one of them. It is a private home that its owners have turned into an actual work of art that many important magazines in the industry have written about, and that has amazed and charmed tourists and visitors for years now.
The Painted House of Todi
This home is situated in a building from the eighteen hundreds, just a few steps away from Piazza del Popolo. It was bought in 1975 by Irish artist Brian O’Doherty and his wife Barbara Novak, university professor and art critic: a few years earlier they had been invited to Todi by the famous Beverly Pepper and were so pleasantly impressed by the city that they decided to follow the example of their American friend and move to the hill for extended holiday periods. The O’Doherty-Novak duo thus became part of the group of illustrious personalities who over the last decades have chosen Todi as their adoptive city. Their house, in via delle Mura Antiche Num. 25, is not particularly big and the style is simple and measured, but over the years its appearance has changed significantly thanks to the work of Brian. Indeed, encouraged and supported by his wife, the artist, also known as Patrick Ireland, began painting the house which slowly turned into a massive work of art. The walls of each room are covered with frescoes whose lines, colours and geometric shapes are inspired by the ancient Celtic language Ogham and that essentially represent O’Doherty’s artistic manifesto. On the architrave that separates the kitchen from the living room, one can read the words “One Here Now”: the artist’s representation of man’s condition. The Painted House also houses three installations also created by the owner who has a number of his works on display in some of the most important modern art museums in the world. The Painted House is considered unique in the world and is a museum for all intents and purposes, available to visitors, beloved not only by art enthusiasts and sheer curiosity, but children as well: in fact it is open for educational visits.