In a never before attempted public preservation effort, the Mission San Juan Capistrano Museum staff and conservators carried out an investigative process uncovering artwork that has been hidden in the Serra Chapel for the last 40 years. Thanks to a donation from a generous Mission supporter, the Mission has contracted the services of Susan Brown Painting Conservators and Display Art Installation Services for this possible preservation and conservation of a 200-year-old painting titled The Twelfth Station in the Serra Chapel. This painting from Mexico was created in 1800 and has been displayed at the Mission for 200 years. The years of exposure to harsh environment, movement, and neglect took its toll on the painting. In 1973 Father Vincent Lloyd Russell noted the poor condition of the large Station of the Cross and commissioned a copy of the painting, created by William Maldonado.
This reproduction was then attached to the top of the original work, as the Mission lacked the funds to restore the original painting. The 11 smaller Stations of the Cross paintings were all examined and conserved from 2005-09. This larger painting remained untouched due to the expense and logistical difficulty of removing the reproduction painting to reveal the original painting below.
Now, for the first time in over forty years, Susan Brown and David Aeppli will discover the original painting beneath the replica of the Twelfth Station of the Cross. This mini-documentary reports on the removal of the replica to expose the original painting beneath. Enjoy!