Selected Mission Era Paintings

A display of twelve rare paintings and colored sketches from the 19th and early 20th century that help us envision places and events long past.

Most of today's visitors to the California mission have grown up in an era where colored images are not only commonplace, they are expected. The only colored contemporaneous renderings we have of mission-era places and events are a handful of drawings and oil paintings done by talented visitors or expedition artists in the early 1800's. We can also envision this era "in color" through the splendid mission-era revival paintings done by such artists as Edwin Deakin and through murals, dioramas and large-scale models on display at selected California museums.

We have collected a representative sample of the available full-color images in this gallery, and provide commentary on the artist and the scenes being depicted.


Ventureno Chumash Indian VillageRussian HuntersFirst Mass at Monterey
Original Bush Chapel, Cross and Bell at San Ysabel AsistenciaPadre Teaching at Indian VilageSan Francisco Presidio - 1816
San Gabriel - 1832Traveling between missions along El Camino RealBull Fight After High Mass at Mission Dolores
Chapel of Cieneguitas at Kaswa VillageSan Juan Capistrano Before 1812San Rafael Mission