(b Bologna, c.1512; d Bologna, 1597).
Italian painter. He worked in various Italian cities, notably Florence, Genoa, and Rome, assisting Vasari and other artists on decorative projects, and was also employed at Fontainebleau (c.1560) under Primaticcio. Most of his career, however, was spent in his native Bologna, where he was the leading painter during the 1570s. He was a favourite artist of Gabriele Paleotti, Bishop of Bologna, one of the churchmen who, in line with the ideals of the Counter-Reformation, called for greater clarity in painting as an aid to devotion, but Fontana's work—elegant but rather spineless—is generally seen as exemplifying everything that the Carracci opposed in their move towards naturalism. Most of Fontana's work is still in and around Bologna. His daughter and pupil LaviniaFontana (1552–1614) was much esteemed in her day as a portraitist.