Mariano Fortuny i Marsal (1838-1874) Spanish genre painter, etcher, and watercolorist. He was one of the leading Spanish painters of the mid-19th century, and during his brief but highly successful career his vigorous technique and anecdotal themes won him a considerable audience.

Fortuny was born in June 11th, 1838 in Reus, Spain. In 1858, after four years at the Academy of Barcelona, he won the Prix de Rome, which enabled him to complete his studies at Rome. In 1859 he was chosen by provincial authorities to go to Morocco to paint the scenes of the war between Morocco and Spain, over the definition of the border. Besides the war scenes, Fortuny made many brilliant sketches of North African life that demonstrate his facility and vivid sense of the exotic.

Fortuny's fame and fortune were primarily the result of his war scenes and historical genre paintings. Gérôme and Meissonier had great influence on these particular works, which many times were made using the watercolor technique, a technique that Fortuny mastered. Curiously, he also mastered applying oils with the painting knife. While watercolor technique renders a smooth, glassy surface, applying paints with a knife produces just the opposite - a rough and noticeable texture.

In 1867, Mariano Fortuny married Cecilia de Madrazo, daughter and sister of famous painters Madrazo. Their son Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo settled in Venice, where he worked first as a painter but went on to build a reputation as a fashion and theatre designer. Oftenly, the identities of father and soon are confused.

Mariano Fortuny died in November 21, 1874 in Rome, Italy. His brilliant colors and dashing brushwork had great influence on other painters of his time, and his works are at the most important museums of the World, such as the Metropolitan Museum, in New York City, the Museu d'Art Modern in Barcelona, and El Prado, in Madrid.


"La Vicaria" (1870) Oil on panel, 60 x 93,5 cm - 23.6 x 36.8 in. Museu d'Art Modern, Barcelona, Spain.




"Vendor of Tapestries" (1870) Watercolor, 59 x 85 cm - 23.2 x 33.4 in. Museu de l'Abadia, Monsterrat, Barcelona, Spain.




"Moroccan Man" (1869) Watercolor, 32 x 20 cm -  12.6 x 7.9 in. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.




"Viejo desnudo al sol" (1871) Oil on canvas, 74 x 58 cm - 29 x 22.8 in. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.




"Arab Fantasia" (1867) Oil on canvas, 52 × 67 cm - 20.47 × 26.38 in. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.




"The Print Collector" (1866) Oil on canvas, 52 × 66.5 cm- 20.47 × 26.18 in. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.




"Lunch at the Alhambra" (1872)




"Our Home in Tetuan" (1875) Watercolor.

Text source: various.

Related Artists:


Related Terms: Realism, Genre Painting, Etching, Painting Knife.


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