Usually when people think about wine, they link it to a nice meal, possibly with good company and a relaxing atmosphere. Surprisingly, Elisabetta Rogai had a unique idea when it came to wine – why not use it to paint?


A portrait of Elisabetta Rogai at 15 years old


How did you come up with the idea of using wine to paint and what type of wine do you use?

I noticed what happened when some drops of wine fell on the dinner table, and I thought it could be an interesting idea to bring those kind of colors and shapes to my canvas. Of course, before arriving at a good piece of art I had to experiment a lot. It’s part of my nature since I used to paint on a canvas made of denim. About the type of wine, I choose those as dark as possible among young wines. Of course 95% of the wine I use is red (white ones are just for giving light in some spots), and here in Tuscany there is a large choice.


How do you know when a work of art is complete?

…At a certain point I look at my artwork and I see it’s exactly as I want it. In spite of it, my wine-made paintings keep ignoring my will: they continue growing old, aging on canvas just like the wine they’re made of.


Has one of your projects received more attention than the others?

Definitely my EnoArt, the art of painting with wine, because it’s something new and different from everything seen before. It made me very proud, and let me be known all around the world. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw dozens of international press articles about me and EnoArt.


Elisabetta Rogai performing her art

Elisabetta Rogai | Wine Painting


How would you describe your style?

It’s informal figurative, a middle ground between the need to represent reality without making it too “photographic” and my reinterpretation of contemporary art. I paint mostly women, because I think I can give them emotions and feelings that I know well.


Have the places you have lived influenced your style?

Yes, but not in a decisive way, even if there is no doubt that living in a city like Florence has played an important role. Here a tradition of care in drawing, a tradition that dates back to the Renaissance, is still alive. I can’t deny that ancient heritage is still present in my artworks.


Elisabetta Rogai at work

Wine painting by Elisabetta Rogai


Have other artists inspired your work?

Yes. Michelangelo for the dynamism of his figures and the technique of “non finito” (not finished), and Lucien Freud for his strong brush strokes. I also took a lot of inspiration from Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, from the postures of their subjects.


Aside from your passport, what makes you an Italian painter?

I was born in Italy but my parents are not from our country. They came from northern Europe but to live in Florence gave me the opportunity to deepen the study of art history and culture of beauty around us. I believe that the merits of Italian “genius” are to find new ways to exploit forms already known, and – when it comes to me – EnoArte or paintings on jean canvases prove it.


What do you think are the best things about Italian fashion/design/food culture?


… In the field of food, there are  small cheese farms that actually have excellent quality and offer authentic “ambassadors” of italianity like parmesan. In the design world, today the highest expression of Made in Italy is interior design (accessories that let you really enjoy your house) and the smooth lines of car manufacturers. Until a few years ago, much of that was thepatrimony of French culture, today we are the ones who dictate the agenda.


Live performance of wine painting

Wine painting by Elisabetta Rogai