In 1483, after moving to Bologna, where he worked in partnership with Francesco Francia and under diverse influences. From the year 1509 to the end of his life he worked in Mantua under the patronage of Francesco Gonzaga.
Ranked among the Ferrara and Bologna schools. His works show that he was not rich imagination and a great gift of composition, but they are attractive, warm and harmonious flavour. The best of them are in the Pinacoteca of Bologna, in the Church of San Petronio in Bologna and in the Berlin Museum ("Candlemas" and "entombment").
He was influenced by Ercole de robertis in an era when the great Ferrarese master worked in Bologna at the court of Giovanni II Bentivoglio. It is known (Gherarducci, "Shops"), about 1483 Costa executed a mural "Destruction of Troy" (not preserved); documents testify to his activities in Bologna since 1485. It was during this first period, under strong influence of art roberty, he created a beautiful altar depicting the "Madonna with four saints" (not preserved, first in the Berlin Museum) for TS. Santamaria delle Rondini in Bologna, the side pilasters of which (8 of the saints) are now in the Museum of Atlanta (Kress collection). Also the first two years, Costa’s date from "the Crucifixion" (Altenburg, Museum), the signature "SV. Sebastian" (Dresden Art Gal.) and Board for the Central stained-glass TS. San Giovanni in Monte. In 1488−1490, he writes great paintings in the Cappella Bentivoglio C. Sangiacomo, with the image of "Giovanni II Bentivoglio family worshipping the Madonna on the throne", "the Triumph of Death" and "Triumph of Fame". In 1492 Costa takes the altarpiece for the chapel of the Rossi TS. San Petronio ("Madonna enthroned with St. Sebastian, James, Jerome and George"). In this work most clearly apparent stylistic tradition of Ferrara, Cosimo Tura, Francesco del Cossa and Roberti, who were some time in Bologna, which is more conducive to their creativity, than Ferrara.
The evolution of the Costa brought him first with Tuscan tradition, as evidenced by the lovely "Madonna with four saints" from the chapel Ghedini TS. San Giovanni in Monte (1497), and then, from 1499, when it was written predella polyptych "the adoration of the Magi" (Milan, Pinacoteca Brera), his imagination and preparationthe the sensation reaches the subtlest rhythmic classicism, Perugino (significant work is the "Madonna with saints" appeared in the same year in Bologna) and finally bring him to the wayward rhythms and elegiac mood, which lie at the basis of creativity’amico, Aspertini. It is in this spirit written numerous works by the artist of the Bologna period (up to 1506) — from the great altar of the TS. San Giovanni in Monte ("the Coronation of Mary with saints", 1501) to the altar of TS. San Martino ("assumption of Mary") and frescoes, along with Francia and Aspertini in the oratory of Santa Cecilia in the Church. San Giacomo ("Scenes from the life of St Cecilia and Valerian", 1505−1506).
Leaving Bologna after the expulsion of the Bentivoglio, Costa worked at the court of Isabella d’este in Mantua, where he created works that have already felt the decline of his inspiration. However, two songs done for the studiolo of Isabella d’este ("the Realm of the Muses", Paris, Louvre), show continues the artist’s talent and his intellectual inspiration that combines modernity and antiquity.