Abiura di Galileo

The two-part art installation L'abiura di Galileo by Emilio Isgrò at Palazzo Bo


During the inauguration of the 801st academic year, on 13 February, the two-part art installation L'abiura di Galileo that Emilio Isgrò created in celebration800th anniversary of the University of Padua was unveiled.

In this work, the artist erases Galileo Galilei. Insofar, Isgrò erases some of the text submitted by the astronomer during his Abjuration on 22 June 1633 before the Reverend Lord Cardinals. Considered an act of coerced repentance, Galileo wrote the text due to the accusation of heresy for his innovative scientific theories.

Located in the cloister of Palazzo Bo and entitled Eppur si muovethe first part takes the form of a large granite globe encompassed by his blackout artistic signature across continents. A limited number of words expose a newly interpreted meaning from its context. Rather than an endless sequence of negative space, a mantra of love and life reveals and creates a contradictory effect to that which is hidden.

Located in the Sala dei Quaranta of Palazzo Bo and entitled Chissà se si muove davverothe second part sees the artist applying his blackout signature with red markings to the pages of Dialogo sopra I due massimi sistemi del mondoa book published in 1632 and understood to be the definitive cause of the Galileo’s condemnation and suspected heresy.   Among the red redactions, the audience reconstructs the same doubt expressed in its title and within us. The artist states, “It seemed appropriate to represent Galileo's certainty and doubts. Not because he had any, but because a sharp-eyed and mangy, not to say cruel, censorship creates doubts even in those who don't have any.”

As Galileo declared his time in Padua from 1592 to 1610 as the best 18 years of his life, Isgrò invites the viewer to reconsider the great astronomer in a new light as a man in relation to the stereotypes conveyed by academic notions.