Born in Avilés in Asturias, he was the son of a painter with the same name, Juan Carreño de Miranda. His family moved to Madrid in 1623, and he trained in Madrid during the late 1620s as apprentice of Pedro de Las Cuevas and Bartolomé Roman. He came to the notice of Velazquez for his work in the cloister of doña María de Aragón y en la iglesia del Rosario, he was asked to help paint in the Royal Palace of Madrid with frescoes on mythological fables. He was named "Painter of the King" in 1669. In 1658 Carreño was hired as an assistant on a royal commission to paint frescoes in the Alcázar palace, now the Royal Palace of Madrid. In 1671 he was appointed court painter to the queen (pintor de cámara) and began to paint primarily portraits. In 1671, upon the death of Sebastian de Herrera, he was named chamber painter. He refused to be knighted in the order of Santiago, saying "Painting needs no honors, it can give them to the whole world". He is mainly remembered as a painter of portraits. His main pupilswere Mateo Cerezo, Cabezalero, Donoso, Ledesma y Sotomayor. He died in Madrid.