Antonio Saura Atarés was a Spanish artist and writer, one of the major post-war painters to emerge in Spain in the fifties whose work has marked several generations of artists and whose critical voice is often remembered.
In the 1950s and 1960s, he made a series of paintings of a crucifixion scene that recall Velázquez’s own 1632 composition at the Prado.
Saura’s limited palette, constrained brushstrokes, and gruesome subject matter also evoke Pablo
Picasso’s work of the late 1930s, especially the monochromatic Guernica (1937).
Saura, like Picasso, was struck by the photographs of the bombing of the Basque capital, but Saura’s expressive brushstrokes more directly index his emotional response to wartime death and destruction. In 1957 he founded the El Paso group (1957–60) with other artists based in Madrid.
The group is considered part of the wider movement of Spanish Informalism, along with the Catalonian group Dau al Set (Seventh face of the die, 1948–53) and the painter Antoni Tàpies. Before disbanding, El Paso took part in two exhibitions in New York: New Spanish Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art and Before Picasso, After Miró at the Guggenheim Museum (both 1960).