To Touch is to See

The paintings at Prado Museum in Madrid employ the Didu technique. PHOTO: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

What is the place of hand sanitizer in a museum when all you are constantly reminded is to not touch the exhibits? But till June 28, the Prado Museum in Madrid will keep those at hand. For visitors – those with sight and the blind – are encouraged to feel their way around duplicated 3-D works of the likes of Francisco Goya (regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns), Diego Velazquez (of the Spanish Golden Age) and even one painted by Leonardo da Vinci’s assistant. And those gifted with sight can don opaque glasses and be guided by their hands. Isn’t there more than just one way to see art?

The Smithsonian says the small exhibit isn’t the only way museums have thought of their visually impaired patrons. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila has some tactile diagrams and audio guides that accompany portraits. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City holds special tours where visitors can touch and handle statues, listen to a guide give detailed descriptions of the collections and learn about drawing techniques to “see” works of art.

And if you are wondering how the blind could ‘see’ the art at Prado, didu is the answer.

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