Palazzo del Monte di Pietà in Padua, from 24 September 2022 to 26 February 2023, hosts L’Occhio in Gioco. Percezione, impressioni e illusioni nell’arte, the great exhibition that the Cariparo Foundation and the University of Padua have chosen to promote together, as part of the celebrations for the 800-year history of the University of Padua.

L’occhio in gioco is one of those exhibitions that we would think of admiring in one of the great exhibition venues in New York or London. Where we would expect something that goes far beyond the usual, the already seen. The eye looks, captures, reads, orders, composes. But it can be fooled, cheated, deceived. Walking on the border between art and science, between color and movement, this exhibition tells over the centuries the subtle difference between what is true and what could be but is not.

Extremely original in its curatorial style, entrusted to Luca Massimo Barbero for the historical part and to Guido Bartorelli, Giovanni Galfano, Andrea Bobbio e Massimo Grassi of the University of Padua for the part dedicated to Gruppo N and the psychology of perception, this very rich exhibition will live in Padova, in Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, headquarters of Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, which has chosen to propose it – in collaboration with Padua University – as part of the celebrations for the 800 years of history and activity of one of the most ancient universities in the world, in the wake of the investigation on the relationship between art and science already inaugurated in 2017 with the exhibition Rivoluzione Galileo, l’arte incontra la scienza.

Along L’occhio in gioco path we are led to compete with art, photography, miniature, sculpture, science, and technology. We will witness the deception of movement and color itself, with eye and mind led to perceive as a unicum what is composite in factual reality. Phenomena that were already well known to artists, alchemists and philosophers of distant times, as evidenced by the ancient miniatures and celestial maps on display, primitive examples of man’s need and ability to match colors, creating a sort of magical kaleidoscope. Images of the world and ancient armillary spheres are combined with Bauhaus and contemporary constructions, revealing an unexpected continuity.

Art and science, in its various meanings ranging from the studies on optics to the theory of color, meet here to give life to a fascinating comparison of concepts, movements, mirages. The studies by Goethe, Runge and Henry will be combined in the exhibition with the works of the great masters who have faced, each in their own way, the theme of visual perception: from Seurat to Kandinsky, from Klee to Boccioni. From the representation of movement to the moving objects, a whirlwind alternation of scientific-technological tools and artistic objects will lead visitors to discover the dawn of cinema (from the Lumière brothers to Man Ray) and of experimental photography (from Bragaglia to Muybridge).

In a path alternating the great protagonists of the Short Century, from Calder to Munari, from Duchamp to Vasarely, we will discover that the human eye can be deceived even without resorting to color, that rhythm and geometry – concepts so apparently immutable – can distort and redesign reality. Furthermore, the exhibition proposes forays of optical into the world of costume, fashion and design. A show that must be watched closely, crossing dates and events, along a path in which emblematic works such as "Bambina che corre sul balcone" by Giacomo Balla or "Gray Scramble" by Frank Stella will be combined with curious instruments to create fleeting and surprising images.

The tradition of studies and experiments conducted, since 1919, by the school of psychology of perception of the University of Padua could not fail to find space in the city of Galileo. Going beyond the academic and disciplinary sphere, the researches in the field of vision, with their extraordinary innovative impact, have contributed from the 1960s to stimulating an avant-garde artistic-cultural environment by projecting the city of Padua and its artists on the international stage. This second part of the exhibition compares a careful selection of documents and academic studies with the works of Gruppo N, set up in Padua by Alberto Biasi, Ennio Chiggio, Toni Costa, Edoardo Landi, and Manfredo Massironi, and the ones of Marina Apollonio: all undisputed protagonists of the optical-kinetic “new trend”. The exhibition will thus find its completeness in an extensive monographic study that will re-propose the works, environments and installations of the Sixties. Great importance will also be given to the school of psychology of perception developed within the University of Padua, exploring specifically Cesare Musatti, Fabio Metelli, and Gaetano Kanizsa. In particular, their main study themes and the relationships between their scientific research and the artistic research of the optical-kinetic avant-gardes will be examined.


Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, Padua
24 September 2022 - 26 February 2023

Monday-Friday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 9.00 am – 8.00 pm
From 9/24/22 to 10/1/22: 9.00 am – 0.00 am

Tel. +39 049 8234882

Exhibition Press Office
ref. Roberta Barbaro
tel. +39 049663499
Photos of the exhibition available on