Gonzalo Cienfuegos was born in Santiago, Chile in 1949.
Cienfuegos studied architecture and fine arts at the Universidad de Chile. In his early twenties he moved to Mexico City where he continued his studies in painting and drawing. Cienfuegos was profoundly impressed by the work of José Luis Cuevas and Francisco Toledo, as well as many other more contemporary figurative artists. After spending a year in Buenos Aires, the artist returned to Santiago in 1975, where he later became Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Escuela de Arte de la Universidad Católica de Santiago. His work has been exhibited throughout Latin America and Europe.