Do touch: Madrid's Prado opens expo for blind

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Do touch: Madrid's Prado opens expo for blind
Chinese painter Guo Zhongzheng works on a copy of Titian's painting "The emperor Charles V at Muchlberg" at the Prado in Madrid in 2013. Photo; AFP

A new exhibition at Madrid's world-famous Prado museum allows blind visitors to explore copies of half a dozen masterpieces with their hands.


For the average punter, the chances of being able to touch a painting by the likes of El Greco are slim indeed, but a new exhibition at Madrid's Prado allows for the next big thing.

From Tuesday on, visitors to the museum can explore elaborate copies of six of the museum's masterworks with their hands.

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The copies — created using sophisticated 3D printing techniques — allow 'viewers' to get a feel for the textural complexity of works at the Prado including a version of the Mona Lisa produced by the workshop of Leonardo da Vinci and Goya's The Parasol.    

One non-sighted visitor expressed his delight at the results.

"It's really successful: I can, for example, make out the texture of the different skin (in the paintings), Juan Torres told Spanish daily 20 minutos newspaper.

"It's also really important that the idea of accessibility isn't limited to putting in (wheelchair) ramps, and that culture is available, and this is a example of how this can happen," he said.

"This is huge step, the fact things have come this far." 

Another visitor was more circumspect. Asked if the paintings were as he had imagined them, Carlos Galindo said he hadn't. "Painting is to be seen, and this (exhibition) is great, but I also know what I'm missing. The colours, for example. I will never see them as a sighted person will."

The Hoy toca el Prado (Touch the Prado) exhibition is on until June 28th, and is free for vision-impaired people and anyone helping them to visit the museum.  


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