Lorenzo Costa was a Ferrarese painter who worked in Bologna before succeeding Mantegna as the principal painter at the Gonzaga court at Mantua. He produced a number of ambitious altarpieces. He was also a gifted portrait painter, and additionally executed genre works such as the National Gallery's unusual Concert.
Costa was influenced, if not trained, by Ercole de' Roberti, the leading Ferrarese painter, with Tura, of the later 15th century. By 1483 Costa had probably settled in Bologna, where he worked until 1506, with visits to Ferrara (one in 1499) and Rome (1503). He moved to Mantua in 1507, the year following Mantegna's death, and remained there for the rest of his life.
The most ambitious of Costa's works are the altarpieces executed for churches in Bologna, including his earliest dated work, the Bentivoglio altarpiece of 1488. Later works, like the altarpiece in the Gallery, 'The Virgin and Child with Saints', suggest the influence of Francia and Perugino.