He was born in a house in today's Via XX Settembre, on whose facade a plaque was placed in his memory in 1952; In 1876 he moved from Ferrara to Milan where he attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, winning the Canonica competition in 1879 with the painting The hostages of Crema.
In 1881 he settled permanently in Milan where he came into contact with the environments of the Scapigliatura. Get involvedat the I Triennale di Brera in 1891 with the work Maternità in which he makes explicit his adhesion to divisionism, of which he will also be theoretical, and to symbolist themes .
In 1907 he participated in the preparation of the "Dream Room" of the VII Venice Biennale and exhibited at the Salon des peintres divisionnistes italiens organized in Paris by the merchant Alberto Grubicy. The latter, with his brother Vittore, founded the Society for the Art of Gaetano Previati in 1911, purchasing a substantial nucleus of his paintings that will be exhibited in the exhibitions organized in Genoa (1915) and in Milan (1916 and 1919).
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