Printed Masterpieces: 3D Technology Helps Blind Interact With the World’s Greatest Art

For years, those with visual impairments have had no way to interact with and experience the greatest masterpieces of visual art.

Thanks to a new exhibit at the Prado Museum, however, for some, that is about to change.

The Prado has used 3D printing to make copies of some of the greatest art treasures and have invited those with visual impairments to come up close and touch.

One visitor said the exhibit brought her back to a museum for the first time in a long time.

“Since I went blind, I’ve been to museums maybe twice,” said Guadelupe Iglesias, 53.  “I can listen to the audio guide, but I have to imagine — remember — what the paintings look like.”

Sighted visitors have also been enjoying the paintings and a chance to experience the great works in a new way.

“I think it’s a really cool way to experience art even if you’re not vision-impaired. I like art, and I’ve always kind of wondered what art feels like,” Isabel O’Donnell,an American visiting the Madrid Museum, said. “Touching paintings seems like a really cool idea. It’s more like what the figures feel like, if they were real.”

The innovative, 3D printed exhibit will be at the museum through June.