A Section of Santa Barbara Mission Original 1785 Lienzo Mural Restored And On Display

The historical photo of the Lienzo in the main chapel of the Santa Barbara Mission

I’ve posted previously about the exciting research, fundraising and mural conservation efforts for an extremely important and historic element of the main chapel of the Santa Barbara Mission. The 1786 backdrop was designed with architectural features, statues and lots of color enhancing the stone wall at the head of the chapel behind the altar with richness and movement that enhanced the devotional activities, experiences and emotions.  And additional value of this important feature is that it’s colors and design were probably influenced and painted by the indigenous members of the community.

The Lienzo was damaged in earthquakes

Damaged badly in several earthquakes it was finally removed, rolled up and put into storage. Along the way, several attempts were made to restore it but the Lienzo was very brittle and very heavy. It’s understandable that the Padres gave up on its maintenance and restoration given their lack of knowledge in such matters. In fact, the story goes, that a section of the Lienzo was used as a sail for a small boat that sunk in the bay.

So, given that, after mural conservation efforts, it’s use as a full sized Lienzo at the head of the chapel is not possible… and given that it is so fragile and that it is not complete… it was decided to use the remaining sections for display as backdrops in small side chapels and exhibits at the Mission complex.

Actually, I love the idea of some of the sections being used inside chapels behind an altar as this fulfills the purpose for which it was created historically.

The 1st section of the original 1786 Lienzo after painting conservation treatments and installed behind an ancient alter and other artifacts as a side chapel.

The effort of painting conservation included stabilizing lifting paint, re-joining breaks and rips, cleaning, carefully inpainting (limited retouching with reversible paint… we never use oil paint)  and, very important, a backing was applied that allowed the mural to be mounted to the wall and protected against future earthquakes. To see how the mural was reinstalled, click on the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4Bi0-8oZ6M and forward to the 4;30 minute. We are confident that these preservation and restoration treatments will ensure its presence and historical relevance far into the future.

Congratulations to the Mission’s Executive Director, Dr. Monica Orozco and the Friends of the Mission who were responsible for saving such an important part of our history in the community and State of CA. Dr. Orozco has been a champion for ongoing quality preservation and restoration efforts following professional standards of practice.

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories is honored to be part of this historic preservation work.

There are a total of five panels in need of conservation, costing close to $100,000 for the entire project.  If interested in supporting this project, donate today at https://www.santabarbaramission.org/online-donation/ and select the Lienzo Conservation Project in the drop down.

Contributions can also be sent to (and make the check out to) “Old Mission Santa Barbara” at 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. You may also contribute with a credit card by calling (805) 682-4713.

See more about art conservation efforts at https://www.sbmal.org/conservation

Spanish Colonial Cherub

Questions or media call Scott M. Haskins

805 570 4140 or faclartdoc@gmail.com


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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/testimonials/
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