The prolific Carlo Francesco Nuvolone first studied with his father, a late Mannerist painter of religious works and still lifes, and subsequently at the Accademia Ambrosiana in Milan, where he met Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Nuvolone's early work displays awareness of the latest developments in Milanese art through his stylistic debt to Procaccini. From Procaccini come the sweet facial expressions on Nuvolone's figures and his delicate modulation of light and shade.
Scholars sometimes attribute the soft, atmospheric quality of his paintings to knowledge of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's art, but it is unclear how Nuvolone could have known of Murillo's work. In time, Nuvolone's style developed from an early tenebrist manner to a light tonality, which may reflect the influence of Guido Reni. Nuvolone, who was from Lombardy, was nicknamed "Guido lombardo." Nuvolone's many altarpieces of the 1640s suggest an awareness of Anthony van Dyck's vibrant, painterly manner.
Sometimes assisted by his brother Giuseppe, Nuvolone received many ecclesiastical commissions for easel paintings and frescoes. He was also a gifted portrait painter and ran an active school. His works can be seen in numerous Milanese churches.