(1656–1730). Theologian, philosopher, and author of several treatises and sermons. Ayala was born in Madrid and studied at Alcalá de Henares, where he entered the Mercedarian order in 1672. Later, he studied philosophy in Huete and theology at the University of Salamanca, where he became rector of the Colegio de la Vera Cruz. In 1714, he was appointed a member of the newly founded Royal Spanish Academy in Madrid, participating in the compilation of the Diccionario de autoridades published under the patronage of Philip V. He is best known for his treatise El pintor christiano y erudito, written as a guide for painters and sculptors in the creation of religious images. Drawing on his erudition and great knowledge of the Bible, he strove to combat the ignorance of both artists and patrons, waging war on idolatrous exaggeration and misinterpretation. His treatise was published in 1730 in Latin and translated in 1782 into Spanish at the order of the Count of Floridablanca, first minister to the King, with a view to attracting a wider readership in response to growing concern about the need for ‘correctness’ in religious painting. Along with the works of Pacheco and Palomino, his treatise was an important component of contemporary artists' personal libraries.
From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.