Little is known of the life of the painter and goldsmith Giovanni di Salamone di Ser Albertino da Bologna. He is documented in Treviso from 1377 to 1379, and again in 1382, 1383 and 1385. In addition, he is recorded as a painter living in Venice from 1383 to 1385, where he again appears in a document of 1389. From his style it would appear that he trained in the Veneto region. Among Giovanni da Bologna’s paintings are four signed works: The Virgin and Child with Saints (Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice); The Virgin and Child with Angels (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan); Saint Christopher (Museo Civico, Padua); and The Coronation of the Virgin (Denver Art Museum). The first two are considered to be earlier and reveal the influence of Lorenzo Veneziano and Guariento. In the 19th century the painting in Denver belonged to Michelangelo Gualandi in Bologna and it seems likely that it came from a church in that city. This has led to the suggestion that Giovanni da Bologna also occasionally worked there, although there is no documentary evidence to prove this idea. None of his works are dated, but the Saint Christopher in Padua has been identified as the painting commissioned in 1377 for the Scuola dei Mercanti in Venice.
Giovanni da Bologna’s work reflects the contact he must have had with the Bolognese painter Jacopo degli Avanzi, whose realistic style he adopted, and with Altichiero da Verona, both of whom were active in Padua at the same time as Giovanni da Bologna. His late work, particularly the triptych in the Pinacoteca in Bologna, deploys a classicism and monumentality derived from Giotto.