Vespasiano Bignami was Italian painter, art critic, and caricaturist. He belonged to the Scapigliatura movement, and helped found La Famiglia Artistica.
He was born in Cremona. Apprenticed to a seller of colored postcards at the age of eight, he spent some time at the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo under Enrico Scuri. In Bergamo, poor, and needing to scramble to make ends meet, he "painted thank-you notes with water-colors; penciled a theater curtain for an amateur group; made small paintings of acrobats; made signs for inns and businesses; painted hundreds of cherubs on the wallpaper of a church; made a painted canvas organ cover depicting a twice life-size figure of Saint Cecilia; painted wooden church sculptures, painted glass for Magic lantern projectors, and made many cartoons for frescoes and paintings by classmates". In 1861, he moved to Milan, and made cartoons for the satirical and patriotic L'Uomo di Pietra. He also illustrated books and journals, and produced industrial art.
In 1869, he exhibited at the Brera a painting titled Botanical Lesson, which won the Mylius prize.