Gaetano Kanizsa (Hebrew: גאטאנו קאניזסא; born 18 August 1913 – died 13 March 1993) was an Italian psychologist and artist of Jewish descent and of Slovenian Catholic descent who last served as a founder of the Institute of Psychology of Trieste.
He attended the classic lyceum, and got the laurea (post-secondary academic degree) at the University of Padova in 1938, writing a thesis about eidetic memory. In 1947 he became a teaching assistant in the University of Florence. In 1953 he returned to Trieste with the role of full Professor at the University of Trieste, which he held for 30 years. He retired from academic life in 1988 and continued research until 1993, the year of his death.
A dominant figure in Italian psychology, Kanizsa became famous in the 70s, after having published an article about illusory contours (Scientific American, 1976) and the book Organization in Vision (1979). A figure in which three illusory contours form a triangle is known as a Kanizsa triangle.
To his scientific interest, Kanizsa added his painting activity.
- Organization in Vision: Essays on Gestalt Perception, Praeger Publishers, 1979, ISBN 0-275-90373-7
- Percezione, linguaggio, pensiero (Perception, speech, thought) by Gaetano Kanizsa, Paolo Legrenzi, M. Sonino, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1983
- Vedere e pensare (Seeing and thinking), Il Mulino, Bologna, 1991
- Some of Kanizsa's paintings on https://web.archive.org/web/20080326194224/http://www.psico.univ.trieste.it/kanizsa/catalogo/catalogo.php3