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With the increasingly belligerent political situation of the 1930s, Burra's work took on a darker tone. This enigmatic diptych seems to speak of morbidity and decay. The shrouded figures look down on a skeleton in an open grave. In the background broken columns indicate the degradation of the building. The architecture recalls the destroyed churches that Burra photographed in Spain in 1935 and 1936. The Spanish Civil War had been especially cruel, but by the time this picture was made war had spread across Europe. Goya's 'Dark Paintings' may have been a source for such works.

September 2004