In the early years of his career, Bernardino Gatti surely studied Correggio's art in Parma. Throughout his career, he consistently imitated Correggio's tonal softness and monumental figures.
Gatti's surviving paintings are primarily decorative religious commissions. By 1543 he was working in Piacenza, where he completed Pordenone's frescoes in the dome of a church. He moved to Cremona six years later, where his commissions included a large religious fresco of 1552, notable for its vividly naturalistic portraits of contemporary noblemen in the guise of biblical characters. From 1560 to 1572, assisted by Bartholomaeus Spranger, Gatti worked in Parma on a prestigious commission to decorate the cupola of a major church. In the following year he returned to Cremona in order to paint a high altar for the city cathedral, but he died before finishing it.