El Criticón

El Criticón

Antonio Saura
El Criticón


This unique edition shows Saura’s passionate, personal side, in which his drawings create an illuminating dialogue between two artists of universal stature. 

ARTIKA, in conjunction with the Fondation Archives Antonio Saura, has produced an edition of Baltasar Gracián’s masterpiece El Criticón illustrated by the Aragon-born artist. A series of sketches comprising views and landscapes from this classic of Spanish literature, as interpreted by the painter. 

Saura is at his most creative here, condensing the elements he habitually uses in his work into a unique, outstanding limited edition of 998 numbered copies. 

This impressive volume, bound in black cotton cloth, contains Gracián’s texts alongside facsimile reproductions of Saura’s 36 illustrations. 

The work includes a Study Book which covers Gracián’s life and work clearly and informatively, as well as examining Saura’s career and including correspondence by the artist to provide context. 

The two books come in a box made from aluminium and black lacquered wood – two tones that evoke Saura’s palette. The box’s original design leaves the print on the cover of the volume visible, and can be converted into a lectern for displaying the book when open. 

A collection of enormous visual power which represents an exceptional homage to one of the great Spanish artists of the 20th century.

El Criticón


El Criticón


El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 1

Working in conjunction with the Fondation Archives Antonio Saura, the proofs are analysed and the printing plates corrected.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 2

Each illustration is checked by experts and then approved or discarded. The stochastic screening technique ensures faithful reproduction of the original.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 3

The reproductions, printed on Modigliani Insize paper, are secured onto each page using three drops of glue.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 4

Owing to the size of the book, a semi-manual sewing machine is used to sew the sheets together.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 5

The cover of the book is bound by hand with black cotton cloth, and features an illustration of the artist.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 6

Experts oversee and check the assembly of the wooden box, which can also be used as a lectern for the book.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 7

The box’s insert is protected by a fingerprint-resistant screen, a piece that combines skilled craftsmanship with an exclusive design.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 8

The title of the work is screenprinted by hand on the cover. Meanwhile, as it is die-cut into the top, the name of the artist is given greater emphasis.

El Criticón - Proceso de producción - Paso 9

Printed in five colours on special 300g paper, the prints are all numbered and bear the seal of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.

El Criticón


El Criticón - Technical specifications - Estuche

Black lacquered wooden box

  • - Aluminium sliding cover, with black methacrylate interior lining
  • - Artist’s name die-cut on the top of the box
  • - Name of the work and the author screen-printed on the aluminium
  • - Slide-out brackets in the wooden base mean that the books can be displayed in a range of positions
  • - Wooden insert featuring trimmed methacrylate anti-fingerprint screen with a portrait of Antonio Saura
  • - Size: 50 x 39.5 x 18 cm
El Criticón - Technical specifications - Libro de Arte
Libro de Arte

Text screen-printed on black poster board, and hand-sewn with cotton thread

  • - Cardboard cover (4 mm) with corner fittings and spine reinforced in black cloth
  • - Number of pages: 288
  • - Reproductions of the 36 illustrations by Antonio Saura
  • - Plates printed in five colours with varnish on cotton paper, 200 g
  • - Plates affixed to the book with three drops of glue
  • - Cover lined in black cotton cloth, with print glued on
  • - Size of the plates: 14 illustrations measuring 40.7 x 31 cm and 22 illustrations of 20 x 31 cm
  • - Book size: 45 x 35.5 cm
El Criticón - Technical specifications - Libro de Estudios
Study Book

Printed in five colours on Tatami White paper, 200 g

  • - Bound in hardback with straight spine
  • - Number of pages: 144
  • - Size: 22 x 24.5 cm
El Criticón


Antonio Saura

(1930-1998) Considered one of the great Spanish artists of the 20th century, Saura was a self-taught painter and author. Throughout his life, he shared his time and space with well-known artists such as Eduardo Chillida and his compatriot Antoni Tàpies. He started painting and writing in Madrid in 1947 while recovering from an attack of tuberculosis that left him immobilised for five years, and from his earliest days his personal style was distinguished by its oniric, surrealist nature.