Please Phyllis! I did not mean to imply that you are deranged for wanting to touch a work of art! Most of us want to, which is why they have to be protected. But to try to destroy a priceless work of art by smashing it to pieces with a hammer cannot be considered normal behavior in any way.
Some pieces of art have been available to touch for centuries, though. There is an ancient bronze statue of St. Peter just down the aisle from the Pieta in St. Peter's in Rome, and it has been the custom over the ages for people to rub his toes while praying for a blessing. The toes are worn down nearly smooth and shiny bright, and there is a sense of connection with centuries of supplicants when you touch them. Every one had carried a molecule or 2 of bronze away on their fingers, and I did too.
Oh! I know you did not imply that to me personally, Claybird. Do not be concerned about that. I know you were referring to the nut with the hammer.
I was just kind of wondering what it would be like to touch something made by a great artist. To touch a sculpture made by Michelangelo, to me, would be like touching his hands and feel the strength and power of his creativity and maybe even get a feeling of his thoughts as he molded each and every part of the piece.
Like Helen, I am visual and can drink in the beauty with my eyes - but, I am also tactile and love to touch something to add to my vision. Of course, I would not try to touch a priceless work of art - but, I do dream.