In 1871, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was born in Granada, Spain. His early childhood was divided between Rome, where his father had a studio and Capricio near Naples. After his father's death in 1874, his family left for Paris to join their uncle. His father and grandfather were both celebrated artists. Mariano inherited artistic skills and also worked in printing, drawing and chemistry. His mother was a Spanish beauty whose wealth had endowed the famous Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.
Mariano studied painting until the age of 18, and was then introduced to Parisian society. After a while, his mother moved the family to Venice. He bought a palazzo and turned it into an enormous studio. Mariano produced both easel paintings and frescoes, was a print-maker and sculptor. In 1897, he was awarded the gold medal at the Munich International Festival of Art for his painting The Flower Girls. He exhibited his paintings every year at the Venice Biennale until his death.