Cross of Chalma/[Cruce de Chalma]

Object Details

Title:

Cross of Chalma/[Cruce de Chalma]

Artist/Maker(s):

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902 - 2002)

Culture:

Mexican

Date:

1942

Medium:

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions:

24 x 16.5 cm (9 7/16 x 6 1/2 in.)

Copyright:

© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

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Palm leaves, flowers, ribbons, and paper ornaments decorate this roadside shrine in Chalma, a pilgrimage site not far from Mexico City. Like many of Manuel Alvarez Bravo's photographs, this image explores the devotional aspect of Mexico's daily life.

Since the 1500s pilgrims have been visiting Chalma, where a miracle is believed to have taken place. Christian missionaries, eager to convert the indigenous people, persuaded them to renounce their worship of Otzocteotl, a deity to whom they offered prayers and sacrifices. The miracle occurred when the venerated statue was found shattered and in its place rose a crucified figure. Though nearly five hundred years have passed, Christians still make pilgrimages to the site. In illustrating how the pilgrims mark their route, Alvarez Bravo's photograph reveals the rustic accoutrements of a cultural tradition.

Provenance

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Mexican, 1902 - 2002

Exhibitions
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