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The Threshing
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© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, 1930
Gelatin silver print
6 11/16 x 9 3/8 in.
92.XM.23.20

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In this photograph of a man leading two horses in a semicircle over sun-bleached straw, Manuel Alvarez Bravo depicts a subject that for many Mexicans evokes thoughts of the Spanish conquest. Until the Spaniards' arrival, the horse was unknown in Mexico, and it remained alien to that culture for many years. When the Aztec people saw a horse for the first time, they mistook the formidable animal and its rider for one single being. Alluding perhaps to this historical encouter, Alvarez Bravo's image merges the bodies of horse and man, as the larger horse obscures the workingman's head.