A 3-D Art Museum for the Blind

It is a piece of universally known etiquette that when one is in art museum, one must never, ever, never, under any circumstances put their greasy hands all over priceless works of art. With that in mind, anyone visiting the Museo del Prado in Madrid will be in for a shock to see visitors rubbing their hands over each and every painting. It is no art faux pas, but an exhibit designed specifically for the blind and sight impaired.

Accurately titled ‘Touching the Prado,’ the exhibit features a wide array of some of the most famous classic works of art throughout history by artists like da Vinci, Goya, and Velasquez. They have been painstakingly recreated in a complex process that adds small ridges using special UV-light sensitive ink. This ink adds volume to the flat picture plane, essentially creating a 3-dimensional plate version of the chosen painting. Ever wonder just what the Mona Lisa’s nostrils felt like? Now you can find out for yourself!

While the translation of art for the sight impaired has been an issue investigated into recently, such as the Louvre offering tactile art demonstrations of their sculptures for the blind, nothing has quite reached the scale of what is being showcased at the Museo del Prado. Certain patches of the art can even be coded in braille to represent shifts in color palette. Visual art is one of the most important aspects of our shared culture, and it is heartwarming to know that one day even those without eyesight will be able to share in its’ joys.

Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

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