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A place of the innocent suffering inflicted by “loss, defeat, and disease”, the fractured and darkened space depicted in this painting presents an image of these mental and physical trappings that nature subjects us to. Of the three forlorn figures being observed by the travellers in the foreground, disease, as represented by a figure of purple flame, is identified by Sveva as the “fiercest enemy”, while loss manifests in the far figure as a grim loneliness, and defeat, a crushing dejection.
Interpreted by Sveva as a triptych, as there are three experiences being presented, the sense of an overwhelmed ability to persevere while suffering from these afflictions is starkly felt in the scene. There are multiple hallways leading away from the desolate amphitheatre yet all figures remain, seemingly unable to consider future possibilities.
Sveva would have seen these states of suffering as universal experiences that she understood through her own struggles.