09-02-2011 The Renovation of Misión San José

After enduring a 10-month restoration, Mission San José’s interior domes and walls are freshly painted to recapture their original 18th-century colors. A successful $15.5 million campaign by the Archdiocese of San Antonio led by veteran fundraiser Father David Garcia is restoring San José and the three other iconic missions along the San Antonio River. The walls were stabilized and treated to remove moisture. They were painted a cream color and accented with maroon and okra hues. For the first time, lighting shines upward to bring out the domes and the stenciled patterns across certain sections of the ceiling.

New lighting also will focus on the retablo, crafted by renowned Mexican artist Agustin Parra. The retablo is based on the best recollection of what it was like in the 18th century. But confirming its design proved difficult. Garcia said the church had a retablo but it was removed or destroyed when the church was abandoned around 1810.The retablo’ s features — shells and decorative capitals — borrow from the facade in front.
To come up with a color, research was done on samples of the choir loft. It revealed the mission was a grayish-blue color unique to San José. The retablo was painted to match this color and accented by gilding portions with 24-karat gold paint. The new retablo has a built-in tabernacle and cavities for four statues: the Virgin Mary; St. Michael the archangel, with sword in hand as a symbolic protector against Satan; St. Francis of Assisi, to honor the Franciscan order that founded the missions; and the original statue of St. Joseph, the parish’s patron saint. That statue is believed to be the oldest in any of the city’s churches, because it predates the 1720 founding of the mission and was used by the mission’s founder, Father Antonio Margil de Jesús, to persuade the region’s governor to give approval and money to build the mission.


~ by myVelleity on September 2, 2011.

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