Rodolfo Aricò was born in Milan, Italy, on June 3, 1930. In 1958 he met Carlo Grossetti, who the following year presented his first solo exhibition at the Salone Annunciata in Milan. In 1964 he participated in the 32nd Venice Biennale, where he exhibited Trittico dell'esistenza. In 1965, Roberto Sanesi dedicated a book to Aricò’s work, titled Reperti: per uno studio sulla pittura di Rodolfo Aricò. The same year Aricò took part in the 9th Rome Quadriennale, resulting in the purchase by the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna of his Work in Progress. Le “simultanee forme” di Delaunay. In 1967 he was given a solo exhibition at the Galleria L’Attico in Rome. In 1968 he was awarded a gallery at the 34th Venice Biennale, in which he created an environment of large works that were clear evidence of the structural nature of his "painting-objects". In 1969 he was given a solo exhibition at the Deson-Zacks Gallery in Chicago.

In the 1970s Aricò’s work veered towards the reinterpretation of his humanistic vision of the history of art and architectural archetypes, expressed in thinly-sprayed paintings with various superimposed layers of paint that generated a monochromatic finish. In 1974 he was given a retrospective exhibition at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. In 1977 the City of Ferrara gave him a retrospective exhibition in the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Parco Massari. In 1980 he held an exhibition that investigated the relationship between architecture, painting, and myth at the Casa del Mantegna in Mantua. In the 1980s Aricò moved away from the regular geometry that had characterized his work of the previous decades in favor of an increasingly articulated metamorphosis of contours and surfaces.

In 1982, Aricò was invited to the Venice Biennale and exhibited Clinamen/Prometheus. H exhibited at the Venice Biennale again in 1968, with his work Structure. During the 1990s he programmed a series of solo exhibitions presenting a notion of space that was increasingly physical and corporeal, as the drama of an uninterrupted materiality undergoing implosion and explosion. In 1994 he took part in the Venezia e la Biennale exhibition at Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice. In 1997, at the Arte Studio Invernizzi in Milan, he exhibited spiritually charged works titled Evenings, in which canvas and color become one in such a way that they constitute existential presences in their grandiose objectiveness. In 2001 the Galleria Spazio Annunciata in Milan held his last solo exhibition. Aricò died in Milan on June 22, 2002.