Ask the artist: Susanna Maccari

It is a pleasure to present as the first artist to join the project “Contemporary Italian Art in the Netherlands” the Milanese painter Susanna Maccari who, despite being a graduate in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, has taken the road to art. After having attended various studios of illustrious masters of art, Susanna Maccari became known for her oil and watercolour painting in which the search for colour and light has romantic and impressionistic tones. The Italian artist has exhibited her works in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Italy (Milan, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Assisi, Sirmione, Portovenere, Turin, Lodi, Tirano, Cesenatico, Novara, Vieste, Santa Margherita Ligure, Udine, Arona, Pietra Ligure) in France (Nice, Cannes, Mandelieu La Napoule) and in the Principality of Monaco (Montecarlo), obtaining numerous prizes and awards. His greatest collectors can be found in Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany, and since 2012 his paintings have been on the stage of the Milanese theatre company Cà Nostra. Finally, Susanna Maccari is a member of international and national cultural associations such as the Associazione Culturale Milano Arte, the Accademia Gentilizia il Marzocco in Florence and the Accademia internazionale Greci-Marino.

But now let’s move on to the real questions.

What inspires the artist Susanna Maccari in her artistic production and what is the theme most dear to her?
My muse is nature in its totality and complexity. As Seneca says “All art is an imitation of nature”. There is the artist who faithfully reproduces it, the artist who paints it according to his own personal interpretation and the artist who transforms and synthesises it starting from his own inner world. I try to capture in the surrounding environment everything that excites me and reproduce it on the canvas in a personal way. In nature I see light, darkness, love, violence, peace, suffering. I find empathy between man and nature, but where nature is lacking, then man destroys nature and nature destroys man. In the seasons I catch the inexorable cycle of life as well as in the dawn and the sunset. Trees are a theme very dear to me: they are the symbol of strength, of perseverance, of impossible challenges. The sea and boats are two other themes that often recur in my paintings. The sea is a symbol of life, of rebirth, but also of the violent storms that are raging down on our existence. A strong boat can help us overcome our uncertainties and difficulties.

Can you tell us some secrets about your performance technique?
I would say that there are no particular secrets concerning my performing technique. As for oil paintings, I choose a subject, the study in depth and try to imagine it finished on canvas. I always start from a first field to better define what I have decided to paint, then I continue with the subsequent drafts. I love the decisive colours and the material execution obtained with the use of a spatula. For watercolour, in most cases, you cannot make predictions about what the final result will be like because it is the water that works for you and creates fantastic and unexpected effects.

What is the most satisfying moment in your entire artistic career? Do you feel like telling it?
Honestly I have to say that I have had a lot of satisfactions linked to the period of my artistic activity. Especially moments in which I have seen my artistic vein recognised both by the public and by the critics with whom I have had the opportunity to confront myself.
But the most satisfying moment was when they asked me to hold an oil painting course, with adult pupils, eager to learn and deepen this wonderful technique. Finally I was able to pass on to other people all my passion for the art of painting. They were wonderful moments of work, study and comparison. Everyone with their own style and emotions. Moments together culminated, at the end of the courses, by a wonderful collective exhibition. Unfortunately the year 2020 did not allow me to continue this fantastic experience which I hope will resume as soon as possible.

Which artist or painting inspires you the most? Was there any particular master who gave you the first impulse to paint?
I attended the studios of several art masters, but it was the Milanese master Aurelio Pedrazzini who spurred me on, supported me and directed me towards the artistic path that I still follow with great passion today. In his art I recognised myself: the same love for intense colours, for nature and for the search for light. His paintings have always been a source of inspiration and strong emotions for me. I suffered a lot for his loss but what he transmitted to me will never die. For the watercolour technique, I was very impressed by Jean Haines’ style: a free, expressive and striking style. His colours are my colours! The combination of water and colour is visible in his work. Pure emotion!

Let’s talk about dreams: if you could spend a whole day with an artist (even a historicized one), who would you spend it with and why?
Ever since I was a girl I have felt strong emotions when admiring the paintings of impressionist painters always looking for optical effects. It would be a dream to spend a whole day with one of the founders of Impressionism: Claude Monet. Painting “en plein air”, deepening the study of light, wind and shadows at different times of the day or the seasons as Monet did to capture the essence and transience of nature. “I follow nature without being able to grasp it…”. A dream to touch closely the garden of Giverny, the sheaves, the water lilies, the Cathedrals of Rouen…

Thanking Susanna Maccari for the elegance of her answers, I invite you to take a look at the page dedicated to her on the website where you can find the works on Dutch territory: Susanna Maccari – Italian art by ELisa Manzoni (

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