It is the everyday here in France to see the bricked portal. And so, I share with you an image of one of my recent oil paintings with one of France’s lost doors … these doors and windows make my imagination burn. I imagine that some beings can walk through these portals? What is on the other side? And I prefer this thought to the question of what would compel people to brick up their light and freedom? For retched really is the answer … door and Window tax it seems. Here in France from 1798 to 1926 property tax was based on the number and size of doors and windows in each house. Similar taxes existed in Britain and Spain too. So, these bricked portals are remnants of an era past, of government madness and the resulting social, cultural and architectural phenomenon of blocked light and passage.
From Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables … “My dear brethren, my good friends, there are thirteen hundred and twenty thousand peasant houses in France, with only three openings, eighteen hundred and seventeen thousand, which have two openings, the door and a window, and finally, three hundred and forty-six thousand cabins, which have but one opening, the door. And this, because of a thing called the tax of doors and windows. Put me poor families, old women, little children, in these lodgings, and see the fevers and diseases. Alas! God gives the air to men, the law sells them. " …
There is however one positive of the blocked window … the street art of painted window scenes spied everywhere, in every old city of “trompe-l‘oeil“ which directly translates to 'the eye deceived'. Here’s one in the old city of Albi, near where I am painting … http:/www.google.fr/search?q=trompe+l%27oeil+exterieur+albi&tbm=isch&tbs=rimg:CVMm0es_1wGSWIjgwyF0iVbFgNxgGyjcw8bYTfjbXqWPs_1EuyS6Wyb0DoHFT8ebQUTxbfK9dZ3Mj4V2ITFL2vXPmEsioSCTDIXSJVsWA3EX8-0_1woWEFoKhIJGAbKNzDxthMR_1UmHlsRnh1gqEgl-NtepY-z8SxGm4hL0iEwwjCoSCbJLpbJvQOgcEYsu-ACX2kFQKhIJVPx5tBRPFt8RDkMUaT6ipqUqEgkr11ncyPhXYhHKKV9bOXmaDioSCRMUva9c-YSyERz9Yf-FT-j5&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjpxpOr7LXWAhXCVxQKHXtNCboQ9C8IHA&biw=1366&bih=638&dpr=1#imgdii=K9dZ3Mj4V2LskM:&imgrc=UybR6z_AZJbYmM: