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Ruin (B)
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© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, 1930
Gelatin silver print
6 7/16 x 9 5/8 in.
92.XM.23.2

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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.