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Touch and feel a 3-D version of Klimt’s ‘Kiss’

Like most artworks in galleries worldwide, visitors haven't been allowed to reach out and touch Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" at its home at the Belvedere museum in Vienna -- until now.

Touch and feel a 3-D version of Klimt's 'Kiss'
Photo: Andreas Reichinger, VRVis

On Wednesday a special three-dimensional version of the masterpiece was unveiled, aimed at enabling the visually impaired to enjoy the work by running their fingers over it.

The “interactive tactile relief”, made using a 3-D printer, makes it possible to touch details of the 1907-8 original, the Belvedere said.

Klimt (1862-1918) made “The Kiss”, depicting a couple embracing and enveloped in colourful robes, using oil paints and gold leaf during Vienna's “belle epoque” heyday.

The new reproduction, which is much smaller than the original, also has sensors that when touched trigger audio commentary about the work.

“We want to open up a whole new chapter of making art available for the blind and visually impaired,” Rainer Delgado from the German association for the blind and visually impaired (DBSV) said.

“Maybe in the future (they) will have a 3-D printer of their own at home and will be able to download 3-D files from museum homepages,” he told a news conference in the Austrian capital.

The relief is part of an EU project called AMBAVis (Access to Museums for Blind and Visually Impaired People) which aims to offer visually impaired people “barrier-free” access to art.

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ART

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy

As the art world plans to celebrate the centenary of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele's death, some of his nudes have been dubbed too racy to show in their full glory, not least in the London underground.

London Tube gets covered-up versions of Schiele nudes after it deems the originals too racy
Photo: Christian Lendl/Vienna Tourist Board/AFP
Austrian museums will next year host a series of exhibitions and events to mark the centenary of his passing but time has apparently not dimmed some of the prudish attitudes prevalent in his lifetime regarding his rawest works, Vienna Tourist Board director Norbert Kettner told AFP.
   
Two of his works — “Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait),” from 1910, and his 1914 work “Girl With Orange Stockings,” appear with their genitals covered over after Transport for London found the uncensored originals beyond the pale.
 
Advertising hoardings in Germany have similarly covered the offending parts, even though the works were deliberately selected as “we wanted to raise a discussion and the theme of nudity seemed pertinent,” Kettner told AFP.
 
“The campaign was ready but when we came up with the first visuals we had several reactions of 'that won't do; regulations won't allow us to show genitalia,'” he explained after the London Tube and a German airport both complained.
 
“We had the green light for a very large format and, the day before they went up, agreement was withdrawn as an ethics committee felt (full nude versions) wouldn't be acceptable for an airport public” or patrons of London's underground trains.
 
The Viennese tourist office quickly revamped the pictures, covering up the offending organs and adding on the blotted out section the slogan, “SORRY, 100 years old but still too daring today.”
 
They have also added the hashtag #ToArtItsFreedom in London – a play on the “To every age its art. To every art its freedom” inscribed on the entrance of the Vienna Secession building housing the union of Austrian artists movement.
 
Kettner revealed that a Viennese display did not share the artistic-sexual qualms of the British or the Germans and had approved a “non-censored” version.
 
The prolific Schiele, born in 1890 and who died of Spanish flu aged 28, was not always popular in his homeland where some, notably in conservative circles, took a dim view of his vision of tortured eroticism.
 
Nonetheless, a retrospective of his work will see a number of exhibitions highlight his talents as well as those of his first mentor and Secession co-founder Gustav Klimt.