Remembering the Fortunys

Remembering the Fortunys

On the 75th anniversary of his death,

we're taking a moment to celebrate the incredible breadth of the multi-talented polymath Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949). 

A 19th-century innovator, Fortuny mastered painting, textiles and fashion through colourful, virtuoso techniques. Working from the gothic Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei, Venice in the early 20th century, he experimented with specialist tools and machinery, designed table lamps and furniture, and was a photography pioneer. His ambition and modernist take on Greek myths and legends deemed him a favourite among the fashionable aristocracy. Nowadays, Fortuny is remembered for his ingenuity and famed garments like the Knossos scarf and sheer silken Delphos dresses.

Not to be forgotten, the death of Fortuny's father, Marià Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874), has also reached its 150th anniversary. Like his son, Fortuny Sr. was renowned for his creativity. Hailed as one of Spain's greatest artists, the realities of the natural world were reimagined with gold pigments, rapid brushstrokes and textured oil paintings. Famous in Second-Empire Paris, his work was one of the most coveted of its time by major European and American collectors, and was inspired by the scenery and native artistry of Morocco, Paris and Italy. Pieces such as 'The Vicarage' have been the subject of many retrospective exhibitions. 

Both father and son virtuosos generated vast circles of disciples, followers and imitators; remaining unforgettable during the second half of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Portrait of Henriette Fortuny (1915), Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo.
Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia–Museo Fortuny
The Print Collector by Marià Fortuny y Marsal, 1866
The atelier of the painter at Palazzo Pesaro Orfei (n.d.), Mariano Fotuny y Madrazo. Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia–Museo Fortuny



Title image. The Choice of a Model by Marià Fortuny y Marsal, 1868 to 1874