About Michael Rogatchi

Artistic Biography

Michael Rogatchi is a world-renowned artist, the European master of metaphorical expressionism. He lives and works in Finland, travelling for his artistic work regularly to Italy and other countries.

He held over 70 personal exhibitions, and his works belong to leading museums, public institutions and private collections worldwide, including the London Museum of Jewish Art, the UK National Art Collection, the New York Jewish Children’s Museum, the Permanent Art Collection of the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Permanent Art Collection of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Israel, the Art Collection of the Ministry for the Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Art Collection of the Permanent Representation of Finland in Luxembourg, the Simon Wiesenthal Jewish Documentation Centre art collection; the art collection of Il Pitigliani culture centre, Rome, Italy; the Leonard Cohen and his family collection; the Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine Museum; the MHB SA Art collection, Paris, France; the art collection of The Prague Times, Czech Republic; the Laogai Museum in Washington DC, CICA Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in South Korea, and many others.

Michael Rogatchi’s The Life of Two of Us exhibition, Palazzo Cioffi-Jacometti, Florence, Italy, 2011.

His art also belongs to numerous private art collections world-wide including notable European and American collections in Finland, Italy, UK, USA, Austria, France, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Israel, Russia, Ukraine,  Sweden, Germany, Spain, Portugal,  Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, and the others. 

Michael is a member of the jury of the Italian National Il Volo di Pegaso Art, Literature and Music Award. He is also a founding co-member of The Leonardo Forum, pan-European network on knowledge, science, arts, music and medicine. 


The main themes of Michael’s oeuvre d’art are renditions of music in its wide variety, romantic and lyrical works, metaphorical expressionist  art, Jewish heritage and themes, and contemporary spiritual and Biblical art. 

Among Michael’s internationally acclaimed series, there are Bolero, Rogatchi’s Blues, Mozartiana, Libertango, all are expressive, inventive and distinctive bodies of work reflecting the world of music and human feelings.

BOLERO is a unique composition of metaphorical art exploring an intricate relations between a human being and other souls around him. It is an artistic study of a human attitude towards the outside world. 

His renowned Divertimento and Take Eight series are dedicated to the two music genres which he has close connections to, classical music and jazz.

Michael Rogatchi’s Divertimento exhibition, New York Jewish Children’s Museum. USA. 2013.

His romantic art works, SHE,  Violin Garden, The Life of Two of Us series that has been exhibited widely internationally did gain a wide recognition for him as a modern lyrical master. 

” I deeply appreciate Michael’s art. It is fine, deep and touching. It is precious” – Leonard Cohenin the letter to Michael and Inna Rogatchi, October 2013. Leonard Cohen owned some of the Michael’s works. 

“I found the work of Michael very beautiful and deeply spiritual” – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the letter to Michael and Inna Rogatchi, November 28, 2019. Rabbi Lord Sacks and his wife Lady Elaine own some of Michael’s works created for them specifically. 

‘His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales would like to thank Michael and Inna Rogatchi to their contribution towards the evening of the The Prince’s Trust special charitable art auction” – The Prince’s Trust special brochure of the special charitable art auction, London, the UK, October 2009. 

His paintings are, or giving the impression, to be romantic in the way Chagall’s ones were romantic, but also having a substratum of abstract expressionism, shared also with Malevich and Johns. And, as the works of Pop artists of the sixties, they have what in English we call an edge, the sharp point of a knife” – Prof. Judith Harrisauthor of Pompeii Awakened.

” Michael is a phenomenal artist. His works which I have seen are those of an extremely powerful, fantastic imagination. The power of his imagination is overwhelming, it is simply tremendous, unbelievable. What’s more, Michael is the case of talented artists with a strong moral stand and convictions, thus his works are talking not to minds only, but to the hearts of people, very importantly. Anyone who could have a look at Michael’s works, would see that a creative image can express things much more powerfully than many words would do.” – Prof. John Lenczowski, founder and president, The Institute of the World Politics, Washington D.C.

Michael Rogatchi, with Inna Rogatchi and Dr Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish community of Rome, at the opening of At the Same Time exhibition, Rome, Italy 2016.

 Alongside his well-developed and critically acclaimed lyrical paintings and works depicting the world of music and arts, the Jewish theme is essential for Michael Rogatchi’s art. He is the author of The Patriarchs & The Matriarchs, a unique series in the history of art. The series which is a core part of Forefathers project is critically acclaimed for its distinctive style in contemporary spiritual art.

 Among the other themes related to the Jewish heritage, Michael is known for his series In the Mirror of the Shoah dedicated to Holocaust; Zion Waltz beautifully depicting Jewish cultural heritage; Daily Miracles, on Jewish traditions, soul, and memory.

Michael was named by the reputed art critics among ‘the five most inspiring Jewish modern and contemporary artists’, in the noble company of Marc Chagall, Yaakov Agam, Mel Bochner and David Krakov  –  Ronn Torossian, New York, USA. 

The triumph of the human spirit is celebrated in work of Michael Rogatchi. His work depicts the innermost sensations experienced by people”  –  Francis Miller, art critic, London, the UK. 

Michael Rogatchi with dear friend and colleague, famous theatre director Lev Dodin. 2017. (C) The Rogatchi Foundation.


Internationally recognised and critically acclaimed as European master of metaphorical expressionism, throughout his ongoing career, Michael worked in various genres and styles. The variety of his themes, genres and styles is regarded by the leading international art experts ( like Batsheva Goldman-Ida, and the others) as ‘the one of the most attractive and strong sides contemporary working artist’. 

Art experts and senior curators working with Michael on his projects, has deducted the following period in his artistic development:

1990s – Theatrical- Literary period, or period of surrealistic symbolism; 

2000s – BOLERO period, or prismatic metaphorical period; 

2010s – Musical period, or period of romantic expressionism. 

The works created by the artist from 2020 onward are yet to be classified by art experts. 

Some of Michael’s works can be found at the well-known high-end European art platform AMA ART.


 Among his awards, in 2013 Michael Rogatchi was awarded with the Award for the Outstanding Contribution in Arts and Culture by the New York Jewish Children’s Museum, the largest museum for children in the USA. Michael had been awarded there alongside legendary chief of the New York Police Department Ray Kelly and a great musician of our time, pianist Evgeny Kissin.

His other awards includes the BITEF International Theatre Festival Award for the Best stage design and costumes for Playing the King theatre production ( 1990); British National Art Award Special Recognition Diploma ( 1995-1996); Ben Uri Jerusalem Municipality Art Recognition Award ( 2004-2005); Il Pitigliani, Rome, Italy, and Etz Chaim, London, UK Jewish Art Masters series Award ( 2004 and 2006).

Michael Rogatchi ( in the centre) at his The Life of Two of Us exhibition in Florence, Italy. 2011.

Michael was the only living artist who had been invited to participate in the special Charity Gala of His Royal Highness Prince’s Trust in London (2011). His work Weaved by Light had been the only work presented alongside with Picasso’s work during the live charity auction; among the works present at the silent auction of the event, there were originals by Dali, Chagall, Miro, Matisse and Renoir.

In 2017, he was nominated as a candidate to light the Israel Independence Day Torch by the Senior Member of The European Parliament, supported by the Members of The EU-Israel Friendship Caucus and the Members of Internationally Advisory Board of The Rogatchi Foundation.  

Since 2018, he is permanent member of the jury at the Italian National Il Volo di Pegaso Arts, Music and Literature Award .

Since 2020, Michael is a founding member of The Leonardo Forum, pan-European network of top artists and scientists united in their desire  of spreading the high-quality knowledge on arts, music, science and medicine. Among the other founding members are Director, the Italian National Institute of Health prof. Domenica Taruscio, leading European expert on food safety Dr Alberto Mantovani, leading authority on history of science and art prof. Bernardino Frantini ( Geneva), and writer and artist Inna Rogatchi

In 2013, JLTV Channel ( Los Angeles, USA) made a special program on art and life of Michael and Inna Rogatchi, Melody of Light. The program can be watched here.


Michael was the only artist whose personal exhibition of his original art series Jewish Melody was included in the official programme of the IV World Litvak Congress(Vilnius, Lithuania, Autumn 2013). After several months of exhibiting in Lithuania, the collection has been moved to Tallinn, Estonia, to the Estonian Jewish Centre where its opening has marked the Special Event commemorating the Day of Jerusalem and the 7th anniversary of Tallinn’s New Synagogue and Culture Centre ( May-Summer 2014).

 He was the only artist whose LIBERTANGO. After Piazzolla solo exhibition was chosen for the official program of the cultural events at the International Festival of Jewish Culture in Zagare, Lithuania ( 2015).    

Among Michael’s other notable exhibitions there are Real Dream at the Cork Street Gallery in London (2006-2007); The Life of Two of Us that had been exhibited for ten months in Florence, Italy (2010-2011) with great success, and had been included into the Art Treasures Tour of Florence alongside with the exhibition of the works by Botticelli;At the Same Time ( Loft-Mater Art Gallery, Rome, Italy, November 2017 – February 2017), a dual exhibition with Inna Rogatchi; and several special presentations at the Rome Contemporary Art Festival ( 2017).

Michael Rogatchi with Director of the Italian National Institute of Health Prof. Domenica Taruscio at the Award Ceremony of the Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Arts, Literature and Music Award. Rome, Italy. 2019.

Michael’s exhibition The Jewish Way, a joint project with the Espoo Theatre in the middle of the 1990s, was the first ever exhibition of Jewish-themed paintings in Finland, and is still the only one organised in the country apart of the visiting Chagall exhibition.

He was only the only living Finnish artist whose retrospective has been organised in the famed Tampere Hall ( 1997).

The full list of Michael Rogatchi’s exhibitions can be seen here.

Personal story

Michael was born in 1953 to a Jewish family in the Far Northern East, in a place known as the Valley of Death, the horrible place of Stalin’s Gulag.

Following the destiny of Michael’s father, who was kept as a political prisoner in the Gulag concentration camp, following the death of Stalin, his family was expelled to Kazakhstan.

Overcoming many difficulties, Michael continued his education as an expert in biochemistry and graduated in 1980 from one of the best Soviet universities (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine) as a Master of Science in neurochemistry.

Because of Michael’s scientific achievements, he was invited to work and to develop his scientific career in the world-famous Academic Institute for Experimental Medicine in St Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). His research and studies were highly appreciated and widely published both in Russia and internationally.

While in St Petersburg, Michael also completed his artistic education. Throughout the 1980s, he studied under the mentorship of several leading artists, including Mark Smirnov, Irina Bruni, and others from the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and the St Petersburg Theatre and Cinematography University.

Michael Rogatchi next to his Yiddish Sun painting at the Vilnius Public Jewish Library. Lithuania. 2011.

Following his decision to switch from science to art, Michael started his artistic career as set- and costume designer for a number of the leading theatres in St Petersburg: the Komissarzhevsky Theatre, the Leninsky Komsomol Theatre, and the Experiment Theatre.

Then in the late 1980s, he was deputy director and chief set- and costume designer for the new, very successful and popular Narodny Dom (The People’s House) Theatre in St Petersburg. For his works there, he had been awarded in the early 1990s with many international prizes for the best set- and dress designs, in particular for a cult performance authored by his wife Inna,Playing the King.

In the early 1990s, this performance went on a first-ever charity tour of the Russian theatre abroad, with performances given in support of Amnesty International and the Finnish Cancer Society.

In the end of the 1980s, Michael moved to Finland with his wife Inna Rogatchi, an internationally acclaimed writer, scholar, film-maker and artist. They have both become Finnish citizens and are living and working in Finland, while regularly visiting Italy and other countries for work and various projects.

Michael is widely invited for teaching and conducting master-classes at various universities, cultural centres and art institutions in Europe, USA and Israel.

Implementing Michael’s idea, and in memory of their only daughter Julia-Yenike who died of cancer that was contracted as the result of the Chernobyl catastrophe, together, Inna and Michael founded the well-known international cultural charity: Arts Against Cancer (AAC), whose honorary chairman was maestro Mstislav Rostropovich. Among the members of this charity and its active supporters were Maurice Bejart, Sir Paul and Linda McCartney, famous violist Vladimir Spivakov, the Queen Margreth of Denmark, Barbara Bush, and many other distinguished public figures worldwide.

Michael Rogatchi during his interview to the Lithuanian TV. Vilnius. 2014.

After more than decade of very successful and intense activities of the AAC, the Rogatchis continued their philanthropy via The Rogatchi Foundation established in 2004. The Foundation focuses on promotion and support of educational, historical and spiritual heritage, and still supports cancer patients, and those in need, especially elderly and young. The Foundation also runs international Outreach to Humanity series of projects in which art of Michael Rogatchi plays a central role. Following the outbreak and consequences of covid pandemic, Michael and Inna Rogatchi established Culture for Humanity Global Initiative, the project via arts and culture provides psychological comfort to mass audience which is under continuous serious stress due to the pandemic.

There are many publications and reviews with regard to Michael Rogatchi’s art. His artistic book Shadows of White (2003) has become a modern classic in the genre of the artist’s own long essay commenting his works. In connection with the publication of the book, the late Simon Wiesenthal wrote to Michael saying: ‘I am glad that there are people like you who will continue to remind people’. Today, Michael’s book and many other publications has been widely acclaimed and is to be found in many libraries and museums all over the world.

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