Two handmade books with original drawings by Retana, both of which were created while he was incarcerated at San Cristóbal prison in 1941. The books (4 1/2" x 6 1/2") are beautifully bound in silk and each consist of 25 original and elaborately colored paintings of women in dramatic seventeenth century Spanish costumes. Each of the images is signed by Retana and the books bear written dedications to Manuel Comba, Professor of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Artistic Director of the Spanish Theater in Madrid. The volumes bear illustrated title pages, identifying the books as "Arte Suntuario".
Retana was prosecuted several times for various offenses related to his eccentric lifestyle, political beliefs, publications He was prosecuted as a communist and a homosexual and sentenced to death for possessing objects of liturgical worship used sacrilegiously. His sentence was reduced to thirty years in prison after the intervention of Pope Pius and he was eventually released in 1948. These books are an elegant testimony to Retana's indomitable spirit while suffering what must have been an extraordinarily difficult incarceration. See, Marin, Vestir el Genero Frivolo (2006). Silk covers are frayed at edges, but the books are remarkably intact and the images are in fine condition.