The museum takes its name from its last famous tenant: Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo.
The eclectic Spanish artist established his studio in 1898 in one of the largest apartments that divided the Pesaro degli Orfei palace. Over time, Fortuny also acquired the other parts of the building which would later become his actual home and to which he will provide his direct restoration and refurbishment of the interiors.
On his departure (1949) the property passed to his widow, Henriette Nigrin, who chose to donate it to the municipality of Venice, on condition that it was used for cultural activities. The municipality fully acquired the property in 1965 and ten years passed before the current museum opened.
In addition to the exhibition activity, dedicated above all to the visual arts in general, various artistic productions made by Mariano Fortuny are kept inside the museum, which include drawings, photographic shots, sculptures and scenographic creations, moreover it has been chosen to keep intact his studio (located on the main floor) and its rich library.
Currently the museum is used for exhibition activities.