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Moscow museum holding arts exhibition for visually impaired, sightless people

The exhibition will be open through to February and afterwards the tactile copies will be taken to exhibitions in various parts of Russia

MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. An exhibition for visually impaired and sightless people titled ‘To Visualize the Invisible’ that presents tactile replicas of six masterpieces of West-European painting opened on Saturday at the famed Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

The exhibition opened on the eve of the date of birth of Valentin Hauy, a Frenchman who founded, in 1784, the Royal Institution for the Young Blind in Paris that the world’s first specialized school for sightless people.

The Pushkin Museum developed the project of the exhibition in cooperation with Russia’s biggest banking organization, Sberbank. The list of the paintings selected for the exhibition includes ‘Annunciation’ by Sandro Botticelli, ‘The Virgin with Baby Jesus’ by Lucas Cranach the Elder, ‘The Still Life with Attributes of Art’ by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, ‘Jaguar Attacking a Horse’ by Henri Rousseau, ‘Are You Jealous?’ by Paul Gaugin, and ‘Old Jew with a Boy’ by Pablo Picasso.

Specialists used bas-relief printing to create the replicas of the canvasses and the texture was selected in a way that helped recreate the images to the maximum.

Visitors of the exhibition receive special tinted glasses while entering the display area so that anyone could get a new experience from contacts with art and understand the sensations of visually impaired and sightless people better.

In the future, the Pushkin Museum plans to organize inclusive provisional exhibitions that would comprise tactile replicas alongside with real paintings.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said at the gala opening ceremony that Russia has 12.7 million people with restricted bodily abilities and about 63,000 of them are nonsighted.

"That’s why it’s really important that all these people not only get support from the agencies entrusted with providing practical assistance to them, like education or healthcare, but that they feel integration in our society and society feels they are integrated in it, too," she said.

"In this context, projects of this kind help us to be united with the people who need our special attention and care," Golodets said.

The exhibition will be open through to February and afterwards the tactile copies will be taken to exhibitions in various parts of Russia.

"We’re doing everything in our power now to enable as many people as possible - and we have 63,000 people with the impaired visual ability - to visit this display," Golodets said.

The Pushkin Museum is currently implementing a specialized program titled ‘The Accessible Museum’ for people with disabilities. One of its elements the ‘Fridays in the Pushkin’ inclusive project, as part of which it offers tours and lectures for sightless and aurally challenged people,

Museum experts are also preparing a video course for the people with hearing impairments that will embrace the museum’s outstanding collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. It will be uploaded at the official website of the museum.

In one more significant development aiming to assist a specialized group of people, the Pushkin Museum launched a program ‘Autism: the Friendly Environment’ last year.