Though born in Granada, Fortuny spent most of his life in Venice. At an early age he made his name as a painter, but he was interested in the industrial arts and technological innovations. In a bid to erase the distinction between fine arts and decorative arts, he launched himself into the study of applied art with the aim of transforming everyday items into objets d'art.
He shared this ideal with the leading industrial designers of the day, such as William Morris, who sought to revive the figure of the artist -craftsman, involved both in both design and the production process, investigating new techniques and materials.
A multi-faceted artist, Fortuny practiced painting, engraving and photography, and worked in stage design and lighting, interior decoration, and fashion design. He won twenty patents for his inventions.
Mariano Fortuny delved into both artistic and technical aspects of all cultures and historical periods. Through this broad fusion, he achieved aesthetic innovation in the colour and expressive quality of illuminated fabrics, with particular interest in changes of tonality, the effects of chiaroscuro and the sensation of relief.The result of the unusual combination of his unique creativity and technical perfection is easy to recognize for all those who study his work or enjoy his observation. A work whose pleating, designs and decorations also became a starting point for great fashion designers’ interpretations.