These 3D Pictures Let the Blind 'See' Famous Artworks

Kirstin Fawcett

Blind and visually impaired individuals might not be able to see the Mona Lisa’s mysterious smirk—but once the famous portrait is replicated in three-dimensional form, they’re able to experience her face through touch.

The Unseen Art Project wants to lend this kind of accessibility to all sightless people by re-creating classic paintings in 3D so that the flat brushstrokes come to life beneath their fingertips. To do this, the Helsinki-based endeavor plans to create open-source 3D models of works ranging from the aforementioned Mona Lisa to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Art lovers with access to 3D printers could print them out for free, allowing them to feel the visual contours and curves of masterpieces in their own homes.

The Unseen Art Project recently launched a crowdfunding project to supply universities, libraries, and schools across the world with 3D models. Eventually, they want to print out a whole tactile gallery of well-known paintings. For $30, you can help the blind see Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work—and receive your own 3D-printed model of her smiling visage. And if you have a cool $1500 to spare, you'll get a full-sized version of the piece. Learn more about the Unseen Art Project in the video above.

All pictures courtesy of YouTube. 

[h/t Gizmodo]