Art should be felt by all, urges blind sculptor of Christ
A blind Italian sculptor who crafted a magnificent marble replica of Jesus believes everyone should have the right to touch art, despite most exhibitions forbidding it.
Felice Tagliaferri lost his sight at 14 and has since used the rest of his four senses to craft majestic statues.
But he faces a hurdle when he visits art galleries, which refuse to let him touch any displayed artwork for fear of it becoming damaged.
“I left disappointed, not experiencing the sculpture in any way,” he told the BBC.
While holding an exhibition of his work in Naples six years ago, Tagliaferri visited the Cristo Velato, or Veiled Christ, created by the sculptor Giuseppe Sammartino in 1753. He explained his disability and asked to touch the statue but staff refused his request.
The incident inspired Tagliaferri to create his most important piece to date – his own accessible version of the statue, Cristo Rivelato, or Christ Revealed – which has since seen busloads of blind and disabled people visit his studio in Bologna, northern Italy.
The 44-year-old, whose personal motto is ‘you are forbidden not to touch’ actively encourages people to touch the statue so they can imagine what it looks like.
Cristo Rivelato, which took two years to make, toured Italy in 2011 and was touched by Pope Benedict XVI, which resulted in the Sanservo chapel allowing blind people to touch the original.