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Burra visited Mexico in 1937 and this painting was based on two separate postcards collected at that time: one of an unusual recumbent crucifix in one church, the second of a reredos (or altarback), encrusted with ornamentation, in another (the postcards are displayed in a table case in this room. The decoration seems to be the focus of his attention. The addition of praying figures and the collection plate, however, show his awareness of the monuments' contemporary power and the small, poignant details of everyday life.

August 2004