Mariano Salvador Maella
(Valencia, 1739-Madrid, 1819)
Born in Valencia in 1739 and son of a local humble painter with the same name, in 1750 he moves to Madrid first entering in the drawing studio of the sculptor Felipe de Castro and shortly after enters the recently inaugurated Academy of San Fernando. There he will study under the guidance of Antonio Gonzalez Velazquez, and thereafter moves to Rome in 1757 to complete his studies. He will remain in the Eternal City until 1765 the time when he returns to Court to become part of the workshop of the First Court Painter Anton Raphael Mengs, who was engaged at the time on the mural decoration of the new Royal Palace of Madrid. Through him he gains access to the orbit of the Palace, painting shortly after some of the vaults in the Chambers of the Princes of Asturias. His social ascent occurs in 1774 when appointed court painter. Since then he will simultaneously work on the fresco decorations for major areas of the royal palaces while undertaking other commissions of religious nature. In the following years he becomes a faculty member of the Academy, and is ascended to general director in 1794. He reaches the highest position in 1799, appointed First Court Painter of Charles IV, which he shares with Goya. After the Independence War he is dismissed by the new monarch Ferdinand VII, who removes him from all his positions, and finally dies in 1819 in Madrid.