Museum officials recently announced the addition of a 60 x 90cm bas-relief of Botticelli's famous Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery. Made of white resin, the bas-relief allows the visually impaired to ‘see' Botticelli's masterwork with their hands. ‘But in reality, it can be "touched" by all visitors, because touching art is beautiful,' said president of the Florence chapter of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Antonio Quartero, at a press conference.
The bas-relief, positioned next to the original painting, invites visitors to ‘discover in a new way the flowers, leaves on the trees, and the strands of Venus' hair,' said Cristina Acidini, superintendent of Florence's Polo Museale.
Funds to make the bas-relief of the Birth of Venus were raised through the annual art auction, Giornate dell'Arte, organized by the CittàItalia Foundation, at the Uffizi's Reali Poste in 2010. Each year, the auction raises funds to support urgent restorations of Italian artworks. The CittàItalia Foundation also accepts donations; for information, see www.fondazionecittaitalia.it.
The Cenacolo San Salvi has a collection of resin bas-reliefs for the visually impaired; see also TF 65 for information on photographs that the visually impaired can ‘see' through touch.