Juan Carreño de Miranda
(Avilés, Asturias, 1614-Madrid, 1685)
Noble by descent, Juan Carreño de Miranda was born in Avilés in 1614. His family moves soon to Madrid, where he becomes an apprentice in the art of painting. In 1659 he collaborates with the Bolognese fresco painters Angelo Michele Colonna and Agostino Mitelli in the vault´s decoration of the Hall of Mirrors of the Alcázar of Madrid. Shortly after, together with Colonna and Francisco Rizi they will undertake the fresco decorations of the vault of Saint Anthony of the Portuguese, one of the Spanish mural paintings´ masterpieces of the 17th century. The rise of Carreño´s influence after the death of Velázquez in 1660 grants him the position of Royal Painter in 1669, reaching his zenith in 1671 when he is appointed the role of First Court Painter. In this way, the official image of the regent Queen Mariana of Austria and of King Charles II will be dictated under his brush strokes. His paintings of the royal portraits give him access to the highest circles of the court. During the last years of his life his palette will become increasingly lighter and more colourful, influenced by his profound knowledge of the Venetian paintings and the great Flemish masters of the 17th century. He dies in Madrid in 1685.