Manuel Tolsá was born in 1757 at Valencia, Spain. He was a Neoclassical architect and sculptor in Spain and Mexico.
He got his education at the Royal Academy of San Carlos in Valencia and the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. He was a student of José Puchol in sculpture and of Ribelles, Gascó and Gilabert in architecture.
In 1790 he was named director of sculpture at the recently created Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City, Mexico. He sailed in 1791 to south America, in accordance with the king's instructions, to bring books, instruments of his profession, and plaster copies of classic sculptures from the Vatican Museum.
On his arrival in Mexico City the city government named him supervisor of the drainage and water supply systems of the city. Later he dedicated himself to the artistic and civil works for which he is now remembered. He also designed furniture, made adornments for altars cast cannons. Tolsá died in 1816 of a gastric ulcer.