Giovanni Battista Castello, called the Bergamasco

Artist from the Bergamo area (Crema 1525/26 - Madrid 1569), variably active in Genoa during the first half of the sixteenth century. Starts his training in the small city of Crema under the guide of his uncle Vincenzo Civerchio, also a painter.

During his first experiences he certainly comes in contact with Lotto's Bergamo works, establishing afterwards his own artistic style after a stay in Rome around 1545, under the protection of an important Genoese client, Tobia Pallavicino. And it is precisely for Pallavicino that, between 1550 and 1560, the Bergamasco designs the city palace in Strada Nuova (currently the seat of the Chamber of Commerce), including the frescos and the entire decorative apparatus.

Between 1560 and 1562 he designs the façade of the Vincenzo Imperiale palace, featuring a rich and jutting decoration in stucco, which represents the direct precursor of the ornamentation designed later on for Palazzo Lomellino.

Here we find him busy as of 1563, while in 1566 he paints the frescos for the palace of Baldassarre Lomellino, also located in Strada Nuova. During these years of very intense activity, the Bergamasco also works in cooperation or in tender with Cambiaso on the ornamentations of the family church of San Matteo.

1560 is also the year of the project for the portal of the palace of Tomaso Spinola on the uphill road "Salita Santa Caterina", and perhaps even for the fabulous façade of this same residence, which, in addition to a precise scanning of the surfaces, features extremely rich elements of ornamentations, festoons of fruit and herms, in the purest mannerist style.

In September 1567 Philip II appoints him court painter and architect. The artist moves to Spain during the course of the same year, and in July he presents to King Philip a project for the large staircase of El Escorial. On June 3, 1569 the architect suddenly dies in Madrid.