The Centre for Visual Arts (CAV) of the University of Bergamo was founded in 2005 as a part of  the Department of Literature, Arts and Multimedia by the former Rector Prof. Alberto Castoldi, who directed it until 2011. Since 2012 the University Visual Art Centre is directed by Prof. Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa.

The Centre deals with a variety of profiles and themes concerning visual texts: from the study of iconographical subjects in art and literature, to images as expression of peculiar cultural developments, to themes regarding the anthropological imaginary; from the construction techniques of images and artworks, to problems regarding their conservation, to the valorisation of cultural heritage, which is also achieved by correct lighting of it.

In addition to educational activities, specific archives, thematic journals and publications, CAV operates in five principal areas:

- Cataloguing of cultural heritage.
Dealing with inventorying of subjects regarding the visual arts, the project aims to create a sort of encyclopaedia of the imaginary  linked to literary themes.

- Diagnostics of cultural heritage. Dealing with non invasive analyses dedicated to painting, sculpture, drawings and graphics, photography, textiles, written texts with a view to improving conservation and to supporting art-historical studies.

- Lighting of cultural heritage. Dealing with research in the fields of the vision of artworks: from perception and the history of taste, to the new possibilities made available by new lighting systems based on solid state sources (light-emitting diodes etc.), from the best criteria for the lighting of historic buildings and artefacts to lighting design.

- Research laboratory in multimedia and television.
Dealing with the study and creation of scripts, with the analysis of movies and photographic images, with knowledge and use of multimedia.

- Theory and didactics of figurative language.