This chapter returns to Denis Diderot and speculates on how his life-long fascination with blindness may have influenced his theories on visual art. For example, why does he open “Notes on Painting” (1765) with a description of a blind woman? His Salon Reviews, which are considered by many to be foundational works of art criticism, employ a number of techniques to describe art work for people who could not see it for themselves. This chapter closely examines his account of his friendship with a young blind woman, Melanie de Salignac, and compares their conversations to autobiographical accounts of other blind writers, activists, scientists, and artists discussing their tactile perceptions and mental imaging.
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