Giovanni Stefano was born in Treviglio on 5 January 1612. He and his elder brother Giuseppe are the leading figures in the Doneda family of painters, active in Lombardy until to the beginning of the 18th century. His artistic training took place in within the Milanese cultural fabric of those years and he was exposed to the influence of Morazzone, Giulio Cesare and Camillo Procaccini, Cerano and Carlo Francisco Nuvolone, the city’s most important painters of the early 17th century. Both brothers were in Rome between 1641 and 1648, which provided them with an opportunity to discover the new developments in painting, above all through contact with the works of Pietro da Cortona. While religious painting in Lombardy accounts for a large proportion of Montalto’s work, no less importance attaches to his contribution to secular Baroque decoration in villas and palaces in the same region owned by illustrious families like the Borromeo and the Arese. He died in Milan on 19 September 1690.