Born into a family of actors, Maggi embarked on classical studies at his father’s wish but also took up painting at a very early age, first with the Livornese artist Vittorio Corcos in 1897 and then with Gaetano Esposito in Naples. His debut in Florence at the Esposizione Annuale della Società di Belle Arti di Firenze in 1898 was followed by a short trip to Paris to catch up with the latest developments.
The crucial turning point in Maggi’s art came with the posthumous show of work by Giovanni Segantini held by the Milan Società di Belle Arti in 1899, which prompted a definitive shift to landscape painting of a Divisionist character. After a short stay in the Engadin, he returned to Milan before finally settling in Turin. Commercial collaboration with Alberto Grubicy until 1913 enabled Maggi to establish himself quickly as one of the leading representatives of the second generation of Divisionist painters in Italy with a repertoire of readily comprehensible mountain landscapes focusing primarily on aspects of the visual perception of the reflection of light and colour but lacking the deep spirituality of Segantini’s work. He took part in the major Italian and European exhibitions and the Venice Biennale devoted an entire room to his work at the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte di Venezia in 1912. After an interlude devoted to portrait painting in the same decade, the artist’s mature work focused on greater simplification of subject matter, mostly in landscapes. Maggi obtained the chair in painting at the Albertina Academy, Turin, in 1936.