Pagano initially trained under Raimondo di Dominici, known as il Maltese. Working later with Bernardo de Dominici, he became a follower of Franz Joachim Beich, and flourished as a landscape painter or vedutista, but died in his mid-thirties. He left di Dominici to work with Gaetano Martoriello. He is said to have died from Mercury treatment of venereal disease. It is unknown if he is a distant relation to Francesco Pagano, a painter of the 15th century in Naples.
- "Michele Pagano". Artinfo. New York City: Louise Blouin Media. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- De Dominici, Bernardo (1846). Vite dei Pittori, Scultori, ed Architetti Napoletani, Tomo Quarto (Volume 4). Dalla Tipografia Trani, Naples; Digitized by Googlebooks. pp. 367–370.
- Madrazo, Pedro de (1872). Catálogo Descriptivo e Histórico del Museo del Prado de Madrid (Parte Primera: Escuelas Italianas y Españolas). Calle del Duque de Osuna #3; Original from Oxford University, Digitized May 1, 2007: M. Rivadeneyra, Publisher. p. 155.CS1 maint: location (link)