In The Three Races or Equality before the Law –as in other examples of his work- the Peruvian painter Francisco Laso attempted to formulate a modern allegory somewhere between genre and academic painting. Ostensibly, the composition depicts a simple, everyday scene; a young Indian girl, a young black woman and a white boy are playing cards in a domestic interior. The compositional rigor of the canvas reveals the academic training received in the studio of the Swiss painter Charles Gleyre. The subject matter, however, draws upon and transforms the legacy of the popular costumbrista watercolors of Peruvian artists like Francisco Fierro. In contrast with the lighter tone of costumbrismo, Laso imbued his composition with a sense of gravity revealed in the erect, almost haughty pose of the black woman, and in the dignified and solemn manner of the indigenous girl. There is an ironic note to the title, for the group is presented in a space associated with domestic service –a context in which social hierarchies are emphasized. In this painting Laso tackles the subject of racism and inequality in Peruvian society, presenting a commentary on ethnic diversity, cultural plurality and social injustice in Peru, that is at once complex and open.