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Masterpieces Unveiled for the Blind
by Carolina Rea
Since 2011, the Vatican Museums has partnered with the Francesco Cavazza Institute for the Blind of Bologna in developing multisensory tours for its blind and visually impaired visitors. After creating a wonderful three-dimensional copy of theTransfiguration this past August, they have fashioned a bas-relief translation of the Fayoum portrait of a young man (inv. 56605) from the Zeri collection.
The Fayoum portrait reproduction, an ad hoc creation by experts of the Cavazza Institute, further enriches the Vatican Museum’s path for blind visitors as the first implementation of its kind within the Gregorian Egyptian Museum. Now, this section of the museum joins the Gregorian Profane Museum, the Ethnological Museum, and the Painting Gallery as an area of the Vatican Museums that has successfully adopted this tactile approach.
This addition was made possible thanks to the generous initiative of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, who promoted the project at a fundraiser benefitting museum education for the blind on June 22nd, 2012. At the Italian/International Chapter event, Father Mark Haydu expressed his deepest gratitude for the launch of this shared, fruitful, and mutually reinforcing effort, extending prayers to the all the magnificent collaborators involved in the project.
Tours for the Blind in the Vatican Museums
- Syncretic and analytic reading of the works of art reproduced on the thermoformed panels and on the scale reproduction bas-reliefs. In-depth study of the subject, including the different aspects and effects of the composition, techniques, form and colour.
- The visitor can listen to poetry reading and music, which together with analogical, syncretic references (aural, olfactory, tactile, etc.), stimulated by the guide, evoke the images depicted, enabling visitors to experience the work of art in its entirety.
- This guided tour offers the possibility of touching a fragment of a fresco with the detail of the halo of the angel, by Melozzo, and a section of the painting portraying the shroud of the Deposition, created - as similar as possible to the original - by expert restorers.
- Admission tickets and guided tours for the blind are free of charge. One free ticket is granted to an accompanying person.
- The duration of the tour is approximately 2 hours.
- A maximum of 8 visitors may take part in each tour.
- One didactic guide is provided for one or two visitors so as to optimise the experience.
- Booking is mandatory.
- For information and reservations email to [email protected] (indicating the type of visit required: "Tours for the Blind and Visually Impaired ") or phone + 39 06 69883145 - + 39 06 69884676 - + 39 06 69884947 .
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