Sala interior when it was used as a church (1891-1924), circa 1900

Station of the Cross XII Painting

Recently Discovered and Restored
Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Station of the Cross XII Conservation Project included finding a 214 year old painting hidden in Serra Chapel for more than 40 years.  When conservators lifted the painting from the wall, they found a Los Angeles newspaper from April 20, 1923 hidden beneath.  Conservators also discovered the signature of the original artist, Jose Francisco Zervin.  With private funding support, the project is now completed, and the historic painting is on display in the Serra Chapel.


Before Conservation, May 2013


After Conservation, May 2014

The original painting is part of the Station of the Cross collection of historic paintings that came from Mexico to Mission San Juan Capistrano in the early 1800s. Years of poor handling and environmental conditions led to its deterioration.  In 1973, the then pastor of the Mission, Monsignor Vincent Lloyd Russell recognized the need for conservation but the Mission lacked the necessary funds for treatment.  Monsignor Russell then directed parishioner and artist William Maldonado to paint a replica.


By William Maldonado, 1973

In 1973, the replica was hung directly over the original painting, hiding it for the next 40 years.  In 2013, the replica was removed as part of funded conservation efforts.

The result was the re-discovery of the historic painting.  Due to its poor condition, a campaign for conservation began.  In May 2014, the painting was restored and returned to the Serra Chapel.

For more information about on-going preservation efforts, click here.