Perkins School for the Blind

Blind in Art Collection

This collection presents a fascinating glimpse of ways in which people who are blind or visually impaired have been portrayed in works of art through the ages. It consists of reproduction prints, posters, photographs, clippings, and a few original art objects relating to the depiction in works of art of people who are blind. The collection is predominantly European, with works from France, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. There are also works from the United States, Japan, India, and Peru. Subjects include famous individuals with visual impairments, mythological characters, biblical characters, educational communities that serve students who are blind, Latin American ceramics, and political cartoons. There are also depictions of parables and allegories, including "the blind leading the blind," beggars or mendicants who are blind, musicians who are blind, guide dogs, and other topics relating to the history of blindness. Many of the images are stereotypes, and depictions from other aspects of popular culture and the media.

The Blind in Art collection was greatly enhanced by former Perkins School for the Blind director Michael Anagnos through a friendship and partnership with Alexander Mell, the director of the Vienna School for the Blind. The Vienna School also had a large and sophisticated tactile museum, and many of Perkins' science models were purchased by Mell in Europe and shipped to Anagnos between 1880 and 1910. Many of the prints in the Blind in Art collection bear Mell's name, sometimes accompanied by a purchase date and price.

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Rights and Permissions: Use of the images from the collection of Perkins School for the Blind requires written permission. For more information, please visit  or contact the Archivist at