Giovanni di Niccolò Luteri, commonly known as Dosso Dossi (San Giovanni del Dosso, 1474 - Ferrara, 1542), was an Italian painter. He was the main artist in the Este Castle in Ferrara in the early sixteenth century, the era of Ariosto, whose fantastic stories was a striking interpreter. His works are exhibited in the most prestigious museums around the world.
Biographical data on the artist is poor. We know where he was born, but not when. His father was from Trentino and was treasurer of the court of Ferrara. In 1485 it is documented that the family lived in Dosso della Scaffa (today San Giovanni del Dosso). As the father became the owner of the small farm in Dosso della Scaffa, he passed down his children the name of the patron saint of the village: John and Baptist.
In his education, Dosso did not directly draw from the prestigious Ferrara school of the fifteenth century, but was influenced by it only after having learned the secrets of Venetian painters, especially Giorgione. At these basic teachings, he then added references to classical culture and to Raffaello, as well as his own well-developed narrative attitude. In 1510 he was in Mantua at the service of the Gonzaga, and in 1514 he was appointed court painter in Ferrara. In this role, he was involved in the main decorative challenges of Alfonso d'Este, such as Alabaster Camerini. With frequent travels (to Florence, Rome and especially Venice), Dosso always stayed abreast to what was new in art in the neuralgic artistic centers of the peninsula, starting a profitable dialogue with Tiziano, from whom he recalled the richness of color and the wide openings of landscapes. For a time he was in contact with Michelangelo, painting massive manly nudes. Towards the 1530, for the Della Rovere, he painted the Imperial Villa of Pesaro. In 1531, the Prince Bishop of Trento, Bernardo Cles requested Alfonso d'Este Dosso’s activities, who for over a year took care of the fresco decoration of about twenty rooms of the Castle of Buonconsiglio, where he worked alongside Romanino.