He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Jorge in Barcelona (from 1853) and in Rome (from 1858). He lived in Paris (1860, 1866−67). visited Morocco (1859, 1862, 1871). He received a huge popularity of genre "paintings inspired by the exotic of the East and colorful Spanish. 18th century life, insignificant in content, but externally entertaining and spectacular, virtuosic in execution, sophisticated in the transmission of color reflexes and materiality of accessories (Lovers of Engravings, 1866, U At the Vicar, 1869; Barcelona; Snake Charmers, Model Choice, 1874, Gardner Collection, Boston). Numerous pen drawings, watercolors and etchings are artistic.
He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts San Jorge in Barcelona.
In 1857, Ramon Berneger III raises the banner of Barcelona over the French fortress for the thesis work. He received the second Academy Award and pensionership in Rome, where from 1858 he continued his studies. He studied the art of Velázquez, Goya, J. B. Tiepolo, E. Meissonier. Initially he was influenced by the art of the Nazarenes, especially I. F. Overbek and P. Cornelius. He worked in Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Rome, Paris (1860, 1866−1867), Portici (near Naples). He visited Morocco in 1859, 1862, 1871. The first two trips to Morocco were related to the order of the Barcelona deputation for the huge battle composition Battle of Tetouan (1862, Barcelona, Museum of Modern Art), which captured one of the episodes of the Spanish-Moroccan war.
Staying in an exotic African country drastically changed the work of Fortuny, passionate about the transmission of sunlight and the colorful richness of the surrounding life. The unusual world of nature of Morocco, old cities, oriental way of life, customs, folk types, which opened before the artist, was embodied in paintings, watercolors and drawings, among them Arab fantasy (1867, Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery), Snake charmers (1870, Moscow, Museum of Private Collections, A. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts), Arab (St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum), Moroccan blacksmith (1863, Barcelona, Museum of Modern Art), Moroccans (1860, Madrid, Prado), and other works who included Fortuny in the number of prominent European x-Orientalist painters.
Along with the Moroccan theme, another group of his works brought wide recognition to the master — small compositions of a retrospective genre depicting the life of Spain in the 18th century, sometimes with a seemingly entertaining situation, as if played out in elegant old interiors with many brilliantly painted antiques; These are the Engraving Lovers (1863, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; 1866, Barcelona, Museum of Modern Art; 1867, Moscow, Museum of Private Collections, State Museum of Fine Arts named after A. Sushkin), Model Choice (1874, Boston, Museum fine arts) and the famous Vicar (1870, Barcelona, Museum of Modern Art) — a lively scene of signing a marriage contract in the presence of a clergyman — the vicar. Concentrated in this very small (60×93.5) cheerful picture, the features of the exquisite and virtuosic painting of Fortuny, as if woven from shimmering, light-filled with precious mass of small moving strokes, enjoyed a resounding success.
Returning to Rome from Morocco, he became the idol of young artists. The painter was triumphantly exhibited in Paris (1870), where he was represented by the famous Parisian art dealer G. Goupil. The creativity of the young Spanish master was highly valued in Russia.
Early death interrupted the bold quest for the problem of light in the works of Fortuny’s last years in Granada and Portici: Landscape of Granada (1872, Barcelona, Museum of Modern Art), Courtyard in Granada (Barcelona, private collection), Nude on the beach in Portici (1874), Children artist in the Japanese salon (1874, all — Madrid, Prado).