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Cruce de Chalma
20.3 x 25.4 cm (8 x 10 in.)
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
(Mexico City, 1902 - 2002, Mexico City)
Latin America, Mexican
Medium and Support:
Gelatin silver print
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Burt Wolf on behalf of Ian H. Zwicker of NYC; Gift from The Contemporary Austin to the Blanton Museum of Art, 2017
Manuel Álvarez Bravo studied briefly with Italian-born, Mexico-based photographer Tina Modotti. When she was deported from Mexico in 1930 for political reasons he purchased her cameras and took up her practice of capturing everyday images in the streets of Mexico City. An image at the crossroads of ancient and modern religiosity, “Cruce de Chalma” depicts one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Mexico since the pre-Hispanic period. First an Aztec worship site, the Sanctuary of Chalma in central Mexico, was rededicated by Catholic missionaries to house a famous sculpture of a crucified Jesus Christ. The surrounding hills are crowned with crosses decorated by groups of devotees, in this case with the addition of multiple eyes to guard against evil spirits.