Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mariano Fortuny- Did you know he also painted?

When I think of Mariano Fortuny, lush velvets and delicate, pleated silks come to mind.  The “Delphos” dress is a classic. The “Fortuny lampshade” is also. The beautiful damask fabrics, the gorgeous clothes.  His mystique.  What I did not realize is that he was also a very gifted painter. And engraver. And stage and lighting set designer. Some of his inventions set new benchmarks in theater that are still followed today.

La Pedrera de Caixa Catalunya (the museum) in Barcelona, Spain is currently holding an exposition on Fortuny and his works: Fortuny, El mag de Venecia (Fortuny, The Magician of Venice).
Besides viewing his incredible fabrics, clothing and inventions, there are also presentations, discussions and a tactile tour of fabrics. I wish I was in Barcelona! I think they should bring this wonderful display to the USA!

Silk lampshades in Mariano Fortuny 1999 Marsilio Editori

Fortuny velvet

Mariano Fortuny (y Madrazo) was born in Grenada, Spain in 1871. After his painter father’s early death at age 36 of malaria in 1874, his mother moved her two young children to Paris, where Mariano was encouraged to study painting and etching under his uncle’s tuteledge. He was introduced to many of the artists at the time through his family and exposed to many styles of painting.   In 1889, his mother moved the family to Venice. Mariano spent time in both Venice and Paris, before finally settling in the Palazzo Orfei.  Today it is now called the Palazzo Fortuny, as it houses the museum dedicated to Fortuny and his works.

Here are some views of the Palazzo Fortuny:

Palazzo Fortuny exterior in Fortuny by Guillermo de Osma

Palazzo Fortuny exterior in Fortuny by Anne-Marie Deschodt

The Grand Salon in Fortuny by Anne-Marie Deschodt

The library in Fortuny by Anne-Marie Deschodt

Fortuny's studio in Fortuny by Anne-Marie Deschodt

Fortuny worked in oils, gouache and tempera, creating his own color pigments. He favored copper plate etching, which, along with his painting, greatly influenced his later creations in silk and velvet. He learned the subtle use of color and the importance of light to achieve the dramatic effects seen in his textiles.

Here are  some of Fortuny’s paintings:

Una roccia a pareti verticali sulla riva del mare" 1948

Prove alla Scala di Milano

Ritratto di Henriette Fortuny in costume pompeiano, 1935

Here Fortuny painted his own Palazzo:

Interno dell'atelier del pittore a palazzo Pesaro-Orfei a Venezia
Painted by Fortuny's father, Mariano Fortuny Y Marsal (1835 - 1874)

And last, but not least, my favorite:

Schizzo per la decorazione dell'atelier dell'artista a Venezia


  1. Great Fortuny post....I love the first shot. Good to find your blog!

  2. Why thank you, Theresa!

    I need to add your blog to my list, as I am a faithful reader of yours.

  3. Wonderful post on one of my favorite designers/artists/Venetians!