Maella, Mariano Salvador
(Valencia, 1739 – Madrid, 1819)
Son of a painter, Mariano Salvador Maella moved to Madrid from his native Valencia in 1750, where he first entered the studio of the sculptor Felipe de Castro and then the Academy of San Fernando, where he was a disciple of Antonio González Velázquez. In 1757 he moved to Rome to broaden his training, marked by important influences of the Baroque and Roman academicism. In 1765 he returned to Spain and began his relationship with Anton Raphael Mengs, who provided him with various commissions and introduced him to the artistic circles of the capital. From then on he developed an extensive work as a fresco painter in the decoration of the Royal Palace of Madrid and other Royal Sites.
A prolific painter, Maella practiced all pictorial genres. In 1774 he was appointed chamber painter. He also worked for cathedrals such as Toledo, Burgo de Osma and Jaén, as well as for the great titles of the kingdom. He combines this work with the position he occupies in the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Barbara. His links with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando were also extensive. Appointed a member of merit in 1765, he taught there and in 1795 became its general director. In 1799 he was appointed by Charles IV as the king’s first painter, a position he shared with Goya. After the War of Independence he was relieved of his duties and replaced by his disciple, Vicente López Portaña.