Originally employed by the cabinetmaker Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo in Turin, Giovanni Migliara moved to Milan and enrolled at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. He devoted himself initially to stage scenery under the guidance of Gaspare Galliari but contracted a pulmonary infection in 1810 and turned to small-sized paintings and miniatures on silk mounted on glass during his long illness. As the records show, his regular participation in the Esposizione di Belle Arti di Brera began in 1812 with the first views of contemporary Milan alongside works modelled on Canaletto. His thematic repertoire included “Flemish” architectural interiors with a wealth of anecdotal and narrative elements, subjects of a historical and literary nature under the influence of contemporary history painting and the troubadour fashion, and above all views of the city with figures in modern dress, for which critics coined the term “pittura urbana”. Long trips in the regions of Tuscany, Piedmont, Lazio and Campania between 1825 and 1835 provided new subjects to enrich a highly successful consolidated repertoire of views set in Lombardy and Venice. He received numerous awards and prestigious commissions from the cultured international aristocracy as well as the favour of the Piedmontese royal family in the 1820s, being appointed genre painter to the crown by Carlo Alberto of Savoy in 1833.