Now You Can Try to Kiss Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece

The new 3-D version of the famed smooch also talks to you.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (1908).
Gustav Klimt, The Kiss (1908).

The shimmering gold embrace of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (1908) is a sight to behold. Now, the iconic work is also accessible to the visually impaired, thanks to a new 3-D printed version of the painting, unveiled for the first time on October 12 at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, where the original masterpiece resides.

The resulting 3-D version of The Kiss is not so much a recreation of the famed work as a whole new interactive artwork. It is significantly smaller than the original canvas, with the forms of the painting printed in relief. The work is all-white, emphasizing its tactile qualities. When visitors touch the model, sensors will trigger audio commentary about the piece.

“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 said at a press conference unveiling the model, according to Agence France Presse.

The EU has introduced Access to Museums for Blind and Visually Impaired People (AMBAVis), an initiative to give the visually impaired “barrier-free” access to art.

The Kiss 3-D

Reiner Delgado of the Blind Association, Belvedere manager Agnes Husslein-Arco, and Christian Helmenstein of GF Economica pose with the tactile graphic of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Kiss’ in front of the original art work. Courtesy of Herbert Pfarrhofer/AFP/Getty Images.

“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,” added Delgado.

As 3-D printing technology has become more widely available, it has been used for everything from creating musical instruments to recreating Marcel Duchamp’s lost chess set, and has even been used by NASA in outer space.

The Belvedere is home to the world’s largest collection of Klimt oil paintings, with 24 portraits, landscapes, and allegorical scenes. The Kiss, with its romantic subject matter and extravagant use of gold leaf, is perhaps the artist’s most famous painting.


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