Ruin (B)/[Ruina (B)]

Object Details


Ruin (B)/[Ruina (B)]


Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902 - 2002)






Gelatin silver print


16.4 × 24.4 cm (6 7/16 × 9 5/8 in.)


© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

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This horse's skeleton, with its front legs missing, appears to belong to the prehistoric world rather than to the modern. Manuel Alvarez Bravo's photograph speaks of death and decay, topics often associated with Mexico's experience after the Spanish conquest. The title, Ruin (B), links the horse's remains to relics found at Mayan and Aztec archeological sites, where temples were left to crumble after the defeat of the native population. The horse is not native to Mexico, but was introduced by the Spanish. Alvarez Bravo's image of the dead horse--a vanquished remnant of colonial power--illustrates a symbolic victory over the Spanish.


Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Mexican, 1902 - 2002

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Recuerdo de unos años (September 22 to December 6, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), September 22 to December 6, 1992
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables (November 13, 2001 to February 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 17, 2002
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City), March 14 to June 2, 2002
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), November 10, 2002 to February 9, 2003
In Focus: Animalia (May 26 to October 18, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 26 to October 18, 2015

Trueblood, Beatrice. Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Photographies 1928-1968, exh. cat. (Mexico City: Comité Organizador de los Juegos de la XIX Olimpiada, Departamento de Publicaciones, 1968), p. 75.

Pasadena Art Museum and Fred R. Parker. Manuel Alvarez Bravo, exh. cat. (Pasadena, Calif: Pasadena Art Museum, 1971), pl. 19.

Musée de Arte Moderne. Manuel Alvarez Bravo: 303 Photographies, 1920-1986 (Paris: Paris-musées; Paris audiovisuel, 1986), pl. 31.