Perspective and the Blind

Towards a Communication of Painted Spaces to the Visually Impaired
  • Barbara AnsaldiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 809)


Linear perspective is regarded as the approximate mathematical-geometrical translation of human visual perception on a two-dimensional surface. However, blind people cannot take advantage of the sense of sight and they consequently have no direct experience of perspectival illusions typical of vision. Ever since the Renaissance, a significant proportion of Western painting has been characterized by the meticulous implementation of perspective but its two-dimensional nature makes it impossible for a blind person to truly and genuinely appreciate such an invaluable heritage. Is it possible to recognize the value of a painting by Paolo Uccello or Piero Della Francesca without acknowledging the role played by perspective in them? In a world that is becoming increasingly inclusive, it is unacceptable to deny an entire—though small—category of users the fruition of artworks in which the comprehension of how the rules of perspective define space and composition is inextricably bound to the understanding of their profound meaning, especially when we relate to a universal language like art. This paper tries to reflect on the possibility to fill—at least partly—the existing fruition gap between sighted and blind people that currently characterizes most part of communication strategies for pictorial artworks, especially in museums. The traditional techniques of Descriptive Geometry, like photogrammetry and geometric restitution of perspective applied to painted spaces, combined with the use of new technologies (ICT), like 3D printing, can be crucial in the scientific translation of painting’s two-dimensional spaces in three-dimensional models which can be experienced through touch and other senses. Moreover, the multisensory approach becomes an opportunity to enrich knowledge also for sighted users: such an alternative way of experiencing art is able to transmit new significances and allows forms identification by avoiding the extremely crowded sense of vision.


Perspective Painting Blindness Multisensory ICT Cultural heritage communication 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly

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