Father Serra and Indian Boy (2005)

This statue of Father Junípero Serra embracing a loincloth-clad Indian boy at Mission San Juan Capistrano might provoke cynical snickers today. But it’s actually an entirely innocent, idealized depiction of the first meeting of the Franciscans and the Ahachamai (or Juaneño) Indians. Tole van Rensaalar made it in 1914, on a commission from Father St. John O’Sullivan as part of the restoration and beautification of the Mission.

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