The artistic activity of Jose Camaron Bonanat (Segorbe 18.5.1731 - Madrid, 14.7.1803) can serve as an example of the typical artist of the time of Ancient Regime, and particularly of the illustrious painters of the eighteenth century. And this will be a very complicated example as in the lifetime of Jose Camaron we can observe the evolution and the adaptation of artists' family to the social changes that were going on in the eighteenth century. Thus, Jose Camaron was another member of the artistic family of the Camarons that produced a number of painters and sculptors from the middle of the seventeenth to the first decades of the twentieth century. The Camarons were first known locally in Segorbe, but later they managed to conquer the salons of the Court in Madrid thanks to Jose Juan Camaron Melia and Vicente Camaron. In the family tradition Jose Camaron Bonanat was to introduce the members of his family who lived in Levante, the Mediterranean part of Spain, to the Court and help his sons Jose Juan, Manuel and Eliseo. Jose Camaron, using his influencial connections at the Academy of Fine Arts of Valencia made his best to help his son Jose Juan in his successful career in the Academy of Fine Arts of San Femando and at the Court at the end of the eighteenth and at the beginning of the nineteenth century
Jose Camaron Bonanat was bom in Segorbe on the 18th of May, 1731, in the family of Damiana Bonanat and Nicolas Camaron, a sculptor in Huesca who moved to Segorbe approximately in 1716 and who earned money by doing various work for the Cathedral and the Jesuits of that town. He got his first education at the Jesuit College in Segorbe where he studied general culture until 1749. He got his first artistic experience working with his father and learning from his uncle (his mother's brother). From 1749 to 1753 he deepened his knowledge of the Art in Valencia as well as in Madrid and it was during this time that his first landscape painting and miniatures were created.
In 1753 the Academy of Santa Barbara was founded in Valencia and Jose Camaron's life changed. He was asked to come to Valencia to take part in the inauguration of that Academy. So he left Madrid to be present in Valencia and participate in the inauguration and the exhibition, and to be nominated memeber and professor of that new academy. Situated in the Levantin capital, the Academy was favourable for his artistic activity in Segorbe where he made various renovations in the cathedral and in the paintings of the main altar of the church of Santa Ana, and in Valencia, the most famous of his works there was "The Last Supper" made for the church of Carmen. During this period of time he also made illustrations for the new edition of the book "El Quijote" that was published in 1760 and there were changes in his private life as he married Juliana Melia on the 10th of January, 1758. This period of his professional life ended with the creation of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts where he worked and his nomination as member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando of Madrid on the 3rd of January, 1762.
With his prestigious position among the painters of Valencia and his recognition at the Court, Jose Camaron became a very prolific artist during the following years. In 1765 he was appointed as the permanent Director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Carlos in Valencia, the town where he settled down in 1769. It was most probably during this period that he decorated the Pias Schools and El Temple (1770), made paintings for "El Milagro" ("The Wonder") (1770-1775), la Cartuja de Aula Dei de Valencia (1771), mural paintings for the Cartuja de Portacoeli (1774), for the Church of San Martin (1779), the Cathedral of Valencia (1780-1783), for the franciscanos de El Jesus and the capuchinos de Masamagrell (1783), different works connected with el Beato Gaspar Bono (1786-1787) and for the church of the carmelitas of Santa Cruz (1787). This intensive artistic activity was marked by the birth of his sons Jose Ventura, Jose Juan, Manuel, Rafael and Eliseo, many of whom he will later help in their artistic career using his contacts in the Academy of San Fernando of Madrid. The final point in his fruitful career was the collaboration with his son Jose Juan in the painting of San Francisco el Grande of Madrid (1788-1789). In 1790 he was appointed as Director of Painting of the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia.
After this nomination Jose Camaron returned to Valencia where he participated in the decoration for El Puig and for the Cathedral of Mallorca (1792). On the 31st of December 1796 he was nominated General Director of the Royal Academy of San Carlos, the post which he was holding during the following three years until 1799. During the nineties Jose Camaron did not do any important work due to his senior age, the problems in his private life, the time dedicated to his work connected with his position of Director of the Academy in Valencia and his travels to Madrid in order to see his sons. He retired in 1801 and did not work since that time. In 1802 his wife Juliana Melia died.
On the 14th of July, 1803 Camaron died in Valencia; he was buried in the Capilla de Almas of the Church of San Esteban in the Levantine capital.