Blind Sculptor Recreates Untouchable Masterpiece

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By Barbara Cornell
SALA BOLOGNESE, ITALY (REUTERS).- When blind sculptor Felice Tagliaferri was forbidden to touch one of Italy’s most famous statues, he decided revenge was best served not just cold but stone cold. Tagliaferri, 41, spent much of two years creating his marble interpretation of “Cristo Velato,” or “Veiled Christ,” a 1753 masterpiece that he has neither seen nor touched. Giuseppe Sanmartino’s exquisitely detailed sculpture of the body of Christ lying wrapped in a fine shroud is one of the prime tourist attractions in Naples. Busloads of blind and disabled people from throughout Italy came to Tagliaferri’s studio near Bologna in northern Italy to take symbolic taps on his chisels. The result is a powerfully rendered life-sized Jesus that Tagliaferri punningly calls “Cristo (ri)Velato,” or “Christ Revealed.” “There are so many messages. One is that a block of marble isn’t ruined when it is lightly touched by expert hands,” he said. “Second, the disabled are sick an