The Prado Museum in Madrid launches an exhibition in which blind people can enjoy classical paintings by touching their texture and relief. Tara Cleary reports.
Jose Pedro Gonzalez lost his vision when he was 14-years old. Forty-two years later, he is viewing a painting by touch for the first time. SOUNDBITE: Jose Pedro Gonzalez, spokesman for Spain's National Association of Blind People, "La Once", saying (Spanish): "I've never been given the chance to touch a painting in a museum, not even a smaller version of it. So, this is a unique experience." Gonzalez is taking in an exhibition at Madrid's Prado Museum. Called "Today, touch the Prado", it displays tactile versions of paintings by artists like da Vinci and Goya. The raised sections enable blind people to get a clearer "vision" of the artworks. SOUNDBITE: Jose Pedro Gonzalez, spokesman for Spain's National Association of Blind People, "La Once", saying (Spanish): "Suddenly, I saw the ruffs, they go all the way up to his ears. I saw them. What caught my attention is that this (the ruff) has a different texture to this (the beard)." Exhibition commissioner, Fernando Perez says the reliefs were created using a special technique called Didu. SOUNDBITE: Fernando Perez, "Today, Touch the Prado" exhibition commissioner, saying (Spanish): "It is different inks that are applied in different layers. When you put them under chemical processes like ultra violet light or other techniques, there is a reaction and they increase their volume. They can work with different textures, flat and corroded. And in that way you decide what to highlight." The pioneering project will be in Madrid until the end of June, and its creators hope to expand it to other European countries.