National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Wall and Ceiling Decorations, and Holy Water Font; Restoration Drawing Wall and Ceiling Decorations, and Holy Water Font; Restoration Drawing
Rendered by Randolph F. Miller (artist), 1936
watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, gold ink,and graphite on paper
overall: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.) Original IAD Object: Drawn to 1/12 full size.
Index of American Design
1943.8.5998
Not on View
From the Tour: Folk Arts of the Spanish Southwest from the Index of American Design
Object 1 of 25

The interiors of Spanish colonial missions were usually decorated with wall paintings. Seen here are the holy water font, beam, and ceiling decoration from Mission San Juan Capistrano, located between modern Los Angeles and San Diego. Although the mission itself dates from about 1776, the decoration is a restoration from about 1812-1813. The font is carved sandstone and plaster. Bold, brilliant colors are used to create strong contrasts. In the ornamental borders the motifs are derived from European art but appear in simplified, almost primitive shapes. There was no single "mission style" of decoration in California; European, Mexican, and Indian influences were intermingled everywhere, and the arts found at the different missions were markedly individual in character.

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