You are here:

Martina Mazzotta

Research Interests

Philosophy (Husserlian phenomenology) and modern art (historical avant-garde) | Art and music | Art and Psychiatry, art and medicine | Early modern encyclopaedic collections in Europe and their “afterlife” | Max Ernst / Surrealism and art history, science and alchemy.

Martina studied philosophy and art history in Italy (U. d. Studi and U. Cattolica, Milan) and Germany (Freie U. Berlin and L. M. U. Munich / DAAD). She has lectured in Milan for several years and has worked for the publishing house and foundation created by her father Gabriele in 1966. She is now based in London, working as an author, lecturer, curator and journalist.  Among her recent exhibitions: Wunderkammer. Art, Nature, Marvel yesterday and today (Poldi Pezzoli/Gallerie d’Italia, Milan); Kandinsky->Cage. Music and the Spiritual in Art; Jean Dubuffet (Palazzo Magnani, Reggio E.); Mao Janhua (Saatchi Gallery, London/Rome); Max Ernst (Royal Palace, Milan / H. de Caumont, Aix en Provence).

Research Interests

  • Relationships between the theory of Empathy (in particular as developed by psychologist and philosopher Theodor Lipps), German Jugendstil, the birth of Spiritual Abstract Art, Bauhaus, abstract expressionism.
  • Art and music from a philosophical perspective and in Ciurlionis, Schönberg, Kandinsky, Klee, John Cage and the post-war neo-avant-garde.
  • Art Brut and its history, focusing on Hans Prinzhorn’s pioneering Bildnerei der Geisteskranken, Binswanger and the Kreuzlingen Clinic, Jean Dubuffet and his collection. Art and medicine (curator of the crossdisciplinary exhibition Women and their skin. Identity and beauty between art and Science,Triennale Museum, Milan 2012).
  • Early modern encyclopaedic collections in Europe, their historical form and philosophical premises; the birth of this niche of studies at the beginning of XX century, further developements from the 1980’s onwards; late Renaissance Wunderkammern and their legacy in anglo-american museums, collections, contemporary art.



  • Wunderkammer. Arte, Natura, Meraviglia ieri e oggi, Skira/Mazzotta, Milan 2013
  • Kandinsky->Cage. Music and the Spiritual in Art, Skira, Milan 2017
  • Dubuffet. L’Arte in gioco, Skira, Milan 2018
  • Max Ernst, Electa, Rome 2022
  • Max Ernst. Mondes magiques, mondes libérés, Hazan, Paris 2023


  • Arte, scienza e filosofia della natura nell’‘età della meraviglia’: un percorso, in “Visioni del fantastico e del meraviglioso. Prima dei Surrealisti”, Mazzotta, Milan 2004
  • Sullo Jugendstil monacense: tra arte e filosofia, in “Il presente si fa storia”, Vita&Pensiero, Milan 2008
  • Curator’s Preface, in Adalgisa Lugli, “Naturalia et Mirabilia. Il collezionismo enciclopedico nelle Wunderkammern d’Europa”, new edition revised and updated, Mazzotta, Milan 2015
  • Spiritual abstraction and alchemy in the work of Luigi Pericle, in “Luigi Pericle. A Rediscovery”, Paul Holberton, London 2022
  • Puppenspiel! Between Bauhaus and tradition, in “Puppets and the avant-garde”, Corraini, Mantua 2023