Figure of Christ
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© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, about 1930
Gelatin silver print
8 3/4 x 6 1/16 in.

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This sculpture of Christ enduring the agony of the forty lashes calls to mind the violent religious upheaval that took place during Mexico's forced conversion to Christianity in the 1500s. Manuel Alvarez Bravo discovered this Catholic altar inside a church in Xochimilco, south of Mexico City. In capturing the poignancy of the flowers hanging from between the fingers of the tortured Christ, Alvarez Bravo's image alludes to the complex history of Mexican Catholicism, whose teachings have for centuries been blended with indigenous beliefs.