He came from the old aristocratic dynasty of Colleoni of Bergamo. His first war effort was in 1419 in southern Italy. There he served successively the condottieri Braccio da Montone and Muzio Sforza Attendolo. In 1431 he went into the service of Gattamelata to Venice and fought on the side of the Serenissima in the years 1431 to 1438 against Milan. As Gattamelata died in 1443, Colleoni presented itself in the services of Niccolo Niccolo.
In the years 1446/47 Colleoni was by order of the Duke Filippo Maria Visconti in the fortress Monza in prison. Here he was locked in an iron cage, in which you, neither are really due to the small size and the fact that the floor was paved with sharp stones, sitting still could be.
When he died in 1447, Colleoni was released and was able to return to Venice. The Serenissima later appointed him to lieutenant general. 1467 he was on the Albizzi family who wanted to fight for their return to Florence page.
When Pope Paul II called for a crusade, he wanted to see Colleoni at the head of his army. But Colleoni had to refuse for reasons of age. During his lifetime Colleoni was honored by his native city of Bergamo. 1472 Giovanni Antonio Amadeo was commissioned to build the Capella Colleoni. 1468 / 69-1475 Antonio Cornazzano lived on Colleonis Castle Malpaga to write his biography: Commentarium liber de vita et gestis invictissimi bello principis Bartholomeo ColEI, by Antonium Cornazzanum ad clarissimam Bergomensem Republicam.
Colleoni continued the Serenissima, with one edition, as heir one. He determined in his will, the city get its assets only if you lays down his statue in front of the Basilica San Marco. The Venetians were the cult of personality is not very fond of, as evidenced by the fact that one finds very few statues of important personalities in the city. The request of the Condottiere Colleoni, the city saw an affront unparalleled, yet, however, you did not want to give up the vast, together robbed assets. Sly and barristers laid the testamentary provisions of such that the Condottiere not the Basilica of San Marco, but the Scuola di San Marco, which is the Brotherhood next to the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian Zanipolo, must have meant.
The sculptor Andrea Verrocchio was commissioned to build the model, the cast was in 1496 by Alessandro Leopardi. The statue, next to the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, one of the most famous equestrian statues of all time is still to be seen in the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice and the city has taken up the legacy Colleonis. The Scuola di San Marco and numerous connected to it building now home to the largest hospital of Venice. The Church of Saints is the largest city and the resting place of Dogen and artists.