"This indigenous virgin is about to give flight to her purity"
Gabriele Rovai speaking about the sculpture “Mururoa”
Since he was child, he spent much time in his father’s laboratory, assisting in the different manoeuvres and trying to work with marble and model clay. Once he finished his studies in 1955 at the Istituto Statale d'Arte "Stagio Stagi" art institute in Pietrasanta, in 1959 he graduated from Carrara’s Liceo Artistico, where he returned in 1963 to teach Drawing and Sculpture and later Plastic Arts. In that same year, he also obtained a degree in Sculpture from the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence, and in 1972 in Painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara. His technical training in working with marble comes from the Santoli & Rovai family laboratory and from the studios of sculptors Leone Tommasi in Pietrasanta, Antonio Berti in Florence and the Cascieri & Di Bicari sculpture studio in Boston. After exactly 30 years of teaching at the Liceo Artistico and at the Accademia di Belle Arti, he dedicated himself full time to sculpture in the old family laboratory in Pietrasanta.
He is author of books "Il mestiere di marmista", 1999 and "Dall'argilla al marmo", 2002 and of the notebooks "Impara il Marmo" and "Impara il Bronzo", presented in Sarajevo during the “Settimana della Cultura Italiana”, Italian culture week. He also published libels with lithographies and poems, was designer of sailboats from 4 to 11 feet long. His personal serial graphics are all freehand.
He was present at several exhibitions in the Apuan-Versilia area, among which at the Centro Culturale "L. Russo": "Pietrasanta/Michelangelo/Marmo, memoria, mito", 1995, "Il Dono dei Magi", 1996, "La porta dell'anima", 1998, "Il mestiere del marmista" (solo, 1999), "I colori della Vita", 1999, "Il tempo, il sogno, il gioco, il carnevale", 2002, "Scolpire e dipingere il dono", 2004; and at: Galleria La Volena, Forte dei Marmi (personale, 1969); "Studi aperti in Versilia", Pietrasanta, 1995; Officina Michelangelo, Pietrasanta (solo, 1999); "Arabeschi d'arte", Querceta, Lucca, 1999; "Presenze artistiche ad Azzano", Sede P.A., Azzano, Lucca, 2001; "Studi aperti", Versilia, 2003; "Asartshow", Villa Cavanis, Capezzano Pianore, Lucca, 2004; "Amor marmoris", Levigliani, 2005, “Bronzi e disegni”, Sala delle Grasce, Centro Culturale "L. Russo", Pietrasanta, 2014.