Bernardino Spada was a member of an important Roman family and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Respecting his position he was also a refined collector and a cultured intellectual even when joking his guests.
In the century of the scientific revolution he was living, that gave so much importance to the proven evidence, a philosophic question was blowing the minds: is the sensed reality nothing but an misleading game in which easy is to cheat?
Bernardino decided to create in the secret garden of his magnificent Palazzo Spada an optical illusion bestowing the execution to the genius of architect Francesco Borromini. The witty cardinal used to bring his friends there, showing from far a nice gallery made of marble and mosaics leading to a distant garden embellished with square trimmed bushes.
But as the foot got closer or inside the gallery the visitor discovered that marble was plaster and the gallery was much shorter and little than it looked, and that the garden in the end was just painted. Everything was fake and everything can be faked! How can you defend from this offense?
This thorny question is definitely present especially in a period when the tools for faking are accessible not only to a genius like Francesco Borromini but even to the ones with lousy abilities. So Bernardino’s invitation is to verify, touch, get into the problem to reveal the true nature of what may appear different to a superficial eye.