Rosai graduated from the Florence Academy of Fine Arts in 1912. In 1913 he briefly approaches futurism through Ardengo Soffici with whom he held a joint exhibition at the Galleria Sprovieri, Rome, in 1914. Having returned to Florence after World War I, he adapted to the climate of the return to order and devoted himself to the study of early Italian painters. His painting is characterized by a primitive-archaic basis, linked to a metaphysical vision of the popular districts of Florence and its inhabitants. He held his first solo show at Palazzo Capponi, Florence, in 1920, began contributing to the magazine Il Selvaggio in 1926 and took part in the Second Mostra del Novecento Italiano in Milan, in 1929. Edoardo Persico organized a solo show of his work at the Galleria del Milione in 1930 and his participation in the Venice Biennale began by invitation in 1932. In 1942 Rosai became professor at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. In 1956 the Venice Biennale organized, in the framework of the it's 28th edition, a large-scale retrospective of his work.