At Madrid gallery, blind visitors can touch masterpieces

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Despite their intriguing surfaces, painted masterpieces are usually consigned to the realm of the visual, excluding blind visitors from experiencing them. However, an unusual exhibition at Madrid’s Museo Nacional Del Prado is currently displaying six 3D replicas of famous paintings by Goya, Velazquez and more, which visually impaired visitors can explore through touch, enabling them to experience the masterpieces directly.

The exhibition is called Touching the Prado and was created by Spanish printing studio Estudios Durero using a printing technique they invented called Didú. The replicas are produced through a painstaking forty hour process which sees the printers selecting textures and volumes, including tiny details which will help to guide the blind person’s hand around the painting, helping them to understand the composition. The textures are printed first and a chemical method gives the image volume. After this, the original image is printed on top. The 3D paintings will be on display until June 28th.

We have seen other projects such as The Smart Replicas also using 3D printed reproductions in an attempt to make museum visits more hands on. Are there other ways of using replicas to help visitors experience visual arts in new ways?

Contact: [email protected]

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