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Ilan Manouach
Ilan Manouach

Artist Creates a Tactile Comic Book For Blind Readers

Ilan Manouach
Ilan Manouach

When it comes to translating books with pictures, braille alone won’t do the job. One way around this is by replacing images with 3D shapes readers can feel. Comic book artist Ilan Manouach took this concept one step further by creating his own tactile language to convey feelings as well as objects, Fast Co.Design reports.

Manouach’s new medium, dubbed Shapereader, uses tactile glyphs called "tactigrams" designed to feel reminiscent of whatever it is they represent. Anxiety is written out as block of jagged zig-zags, and “to observe” is a pattern of star shapes spread out against a blank background. The dialogue is printed in standard braille, and readers can refer to a braille index in the book to determine the meanings of each pattern.

Manouach was inspired to create a graphic novel for the blind after spending time alone in the northernmost region of Finland, called Lapland. He told Fast Co.Design, "My whole visual landscape [there] consisted of layers of dense snow imprinted by different animal traces, leftovers of a frenetic night activity.” His first Shapereader piece Arctic Circle reflects this visceral experience. “Walrus” (a chunky pattern of broken-up boxes), “arctic moss” (flowy fan shapes) and “snow goggles” (thin, vertical lines) are just a few of the more than 200 tactigrams Manouach created specifically for the story.

Shapereader isn’t yet available to a wide audience—the only way to check out Arctic Circle for now will be to see it on display at Seattle’s Washington University in September. But Manouach is working hard to spread word of his invention. Throughout the next year he plans to get people excited about Shapereader through a series of workshops, conferences, and exhibitions.

[h/t Fast Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Ilan Manouach.

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Museum Discovers Classic Renaissance Painting Hidden in Its Own Collection
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A long-lost painting by a master artist of the Renaissance was recently rediscovered in the storeroom of an Italian museum near Milan, according to The Art Newspaper and The Wall Street Journal.

The painting in question, Andrea Mantegna’s 15th century The Resurrection of Christ, was found by a curator at an art museum in the city of Bergamo. The Accademia Carrara has been in possession of the Mantegna painting since the 19th century, but long ago discounted it as a copy. While working on a catalogue for the museum in March, Accademia Carrara curator Giovanni Valagussa took note of the tempera-on-panel work and began to investigate its origins.

Count Guglielmo Lochis purchased the painting in 1846, cataloguing it as an original Mantegna; it was bequeathed to the museum as part of his collection after his death in 1859. But decades later, other experts cast doubt on the originality of the work, first re-attributing it to the artist’s son, and later suggesting that it was a copy that was not even made in his workshop. The museum removed it from display sometime before 1912, and it has been in storage for more than a century.

A painting depicting Jesus rising from the dead while soldiers look on
The Resurrection of Christ
Andrea Mantegna, Accademia Carrara

Upon inspecting the painting, Valagussa suspected it was more than just a copy. The painting features a small cross at the bottom of the image that looked disconnected from the rest, and the structure of the back of the painting made it seem like it might be part of a larger work. Valagussa tracked down another Mantegna painting, Descent Into Limbo, that seemed to fit underneath—the paintings are likely two halves of one image that was cut apart.

The Accademia Carrara also conducted an infrared survey of The Resurrection of Christ, discovering that the artist drew nude figures first, then painted over them with images of clothed soldiers, a technique that Mantegna was known for.

A world expert on Mantegna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Keith Christiansen, did his own analysis and believes the painting in Bergamo to be an authentic, high-quality Mantegna. That means that the Accademia Carrara’s forgotten wood panel, previously insured for around $35,000, is probably worth between $25 million and $30 million.

The museum hopes to one day bring the two parts of the painting, The Resurrection of Christ and the privately owned Descent Into Limbo, together in an exhibition in the future.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

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USPS Is Issuing Its First Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps This Summer
USPS
USPS

Summertime smells like sunscreen, barbecues, and—starting June 20, 2018—postage stamps. That's when the United States Postal Service debuts its first line of scratch-and-sniff stamps in Austin, Texas with perfumes meant to evoke "the sweet scent of summer."

The 10 stamps in the collection feature playful watercolor illustrations of popsicles by artist Margaret Berg. If the designs alone don't immediately transport you back to hot summer days spent chasing ice cream trucks, a few scratches and a whiff of the stamp should do the trick. If you're patient, you can also refrain from scratching and use them to mail a bit of summer nostalgia to your loved ones.

Since it was invented in the 1960s, scratch-and-sniff technology has been incorporated into photographs, posters, picture books, and countless kids' stickers.

The first-class mail "forever" stamps will be available in booklets of 20 for $10. You can preorder yours online before they're unveiled at the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Austin's Thinkery children's museum next month.

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