Lucio Saffaro was born in Trieste, in 1929. He graduated in pure Physics at the University of Bologna, the town where he lived from 1945 to 1998, the year he died.
He was a painter, a writer and a mathematician. He began to prove himself as one of the most original and unusual figures of the Italian culture in the sixties, getting some important acknowledgements in each of the cultural fields he was interested in. His researches on the creation of new polyhedrons were the subject of several of his essays and conferences held by him in Italy and abroad. These researches were in turn commented on by qualified scholars and they appeared several times in scientific magazines and in the Annuario dell'Enciclopedia della Scienza e della Tecnica published by Mondadori. They were also reviewed and presented by important critics; he wrote about fifty literary works, published by Lerici, Scheiwiller, La Nuova Foglio, Mondadori's Almanacco dello Specchio and Paradoxos. He published Teoria dell'inseguimento (Theory of the following) in 1986, accompanied by a critical essay by Paul Ricoeur.
He participated in an exhibition of the Biennale of Venice, in the Quadriennal of Rome and in another several important exhibitions in Italy and abroad. His first individual exhibition, presented by Francesco Arcangeli, was held in 1962, in the Galleria dell'Obelisco in Rome. It was followed by another forty exhibitions, housed by some of the most qualified private and public galleries. Among these latter ones, there were the anthologies at the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona (1979), at the Galleria d'Arte moderna in Bologna (1986), at the Museo Civico of Bassano del Grappa (1991) and, after his death, at the Museo di Palazzo Poggi in the University of Bologna (2004) and in the Library of the Accademia di Brera in Milan (2009). His works of art appeared in some important public and private collections. Among the prizes he was given, we should recall those of the Biennale of São Paulo in Brazil (1969), of the Biennale of Graphic design in Rijeka (1970) and in Cracovia (1972).
He elaborated the graphical outlines of Tractatus Logicus Prospecticus in 1966, a theoretical exploration of the possibilities offered by the study of perspective, which became the conceptual focus of his whole research with the amplification of historical references and intuitions. Around 1985, with the use of powerful calculators and of some engineers of the ENEA of Bologna, Saffaro elaborated a representation of polyhedrons of high degree and another complicated studies.
Saffaro's bibliography is really huge; several people wrote about him, among whom there are Accame, Anceschi, Arcangeli, Argan, Baratta, Barilli, Bilardello, Calvesi, Carandente, Caroli, Cerritelli, Dalai Emiliani, D'Amore, Emiliani, Emmer, Galimberti, Lambertini, Lemaire, Longo, Luxardo Franchi, Marchiori, Marinelli, Masini, Massarenti, Menna, Odifreddi, Quintavalle, Raimondi, Ramat, Ricoeur, Russoli, Tega, Volpi, Zevi etc.
One year after his death, the Foundation, bearing the artist's name, was instituted as Saffaro requested. In 2004, on the occasion of the already mentioned anthological exhibition, at the Museo di Palazzo Poggi, a convention between the Foundation and the University of Bologna was signed. This made possible the relocation of all his works at the the Museum premises where they are now still partially displayed. While cataloguing the wide range of literary works and drawings left by the artist, a lot of unpublished works have been found and these will be the subjects of some specific publications to come in the near future.