Parábola óptica (Optical Parable) is one of his most famous urban-themed photographs and forms part of the collection of several museums around the world. The negative dates back to 1931 andthe print, owned by the Museum of Art (MUSA), corresponds to the 1990s. He shows the sign of the shop La Óptica Moderna with the letters reversed. The image puts forward a wordplay between the eyes, modern vision, the written word and the trick of reflection. The title itself marks an interaction between the term parábola, which in Spanish suggests both a type of curve (parabola) and a symbolic story (parable), and óptica, which in Spanish means viewpoint and optician’s shop.


  • Title: Optical Parable
  • Creator: Manuel Álvarez Bravo
  • Date Created: 1931
  • Physical Dimensions: 24.77 x 18.42 cm
  • Type: Photography
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Art Movement: Arte contemporáneo de México
  • Support: Paper
  • Depicted Location: The Modern Optics Shop

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