This sculptural ensemble by Ramón Arcaya comprises two large blocks of granite with opposing approaches. On one of the blocks, on a thick tombstone, lies the lifeless body of a young man, covered with nothing but a cloth of purity. Above him, seated on a rustic, granite block, is the figure of a man, in a thoughtful posture. This sculpture is unquestionably the most successful work to be created by Ramón Arcaya in the field of monumental sculpture, whilst it also is an exceptional example of his ability to assimilate a variety of influences received during his training stage. The work also displays his command of anatomy, after spending some time at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, and the influence of his stay in Paris and the French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, who shared with him an attraction towards the constructive voluminosity of Cézanne and the Michelangelo-inspired naturalist realism of Rodin; these tors also enjoyed creating incomplete works, left to the imagination of the beholder. It was Ramón Arcaya himself who offered the City Council of Pamplona a sketch of the tomb entitled Life and Death, in case it was worth carving in stone or marble, as a show of gratitude for the grant given him in order to continue his studies. The matter was submitted to the Government Commission who then gave its decision to the City Council in a session held on 28th January 1921, accepting the proposal, due to the high quality of the work.
José Javier Azanza