Carlo Roselli was born in Milan in 1939. As a teenager, he moved with his family to Rome, where he concentrated on classical studies and developed an interest in painting. After passing his school-leaving examination, he first enrolled at university to study Law, then Politics, but had little enthusiasm for either. He developed a passion for the theatre and, with a group of friends, he formed a small theatre company that staged the works of William Shakespeare, Charles Baudelaire, and Eugène Ionesco, among others.
In the early 1960s, he gave up his studies and left for Paris to further his knowledge of painting and theatre. He forged friendships and working relationships with artists and other personalities in the arts and entertainment scene. The Parisian artistic milieu had a major influence on his painting, as evidenced by the constant references to the smoky atmospheres of early twentieth-century cafés, which became one of the recurrent motifs of his imaginative world. In Paris he also met London-born Susan Jane Beswick, who became his lifelong partner. They married in England a few years later. After three years in Paris, a year in London, and several trips around the world, he settled for good in Rome in the late 1960s, where he became increasingly committed to painting. He alternated this work with periods of intense philosophical and scientific studies, and at the same time cultivated his passion for the theatre. It was, in fact, the theatre that provided him with the important figurative elements that have become so well known to admirers of his paintings: it informs his characters and their fluid shifts in attitude and behavior. Roselli identifies everyday human traits and masterfully imbues them with a chromatic expressivity that goes far beyond what is knowable; it is similar to mind reading, a dialogue that is felt rather than read. In the early 1970s, he attended courses at the Free School of the Nude and Decoration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.
In 1973, he held his first solo show at a gallery in Via Margutta. Since then, he has met with increasing public success and critical acclaim in galleries and public venues in Europe and the United States. Roselli lives and works in Rome.