St. John the Baptist Statue at Mission San Juan Bautista, California

If you visit the Spanish mission in the town of San Juan Bautista (San Benito County in Central California), you will see this statue on the church grounds.

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Because most statues of saints are depicted fully clothe, the statue is sometimes thought of as a Native American.

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But it is actually a statue of St. John the Baptist, whom the town is named after – Spanish version, San Juan Bautista.

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, host Cheri Lucas posted:

Artists are inspired by and capture the world around us: sculptors immortalize people with statues; painters record events in their masterpieces. What about the other way around? For this week’s theme, find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it.

While I don’t have a photo that imitates this particular statue of John the Baptist, I thought the photo fit the theme.

There are many historical paintings depicting St. John, partly clothe, just as in this statue.

And if you are not familiar with the religious tradition of baptism, the reason for the depiction of St. John in this manner is because baptism ceremonies were originally done in water.  Those receiving baptism were naked.

Most of the paintings and historical depictions of St. John had him partially clothe.

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So another question for me is also…how long does art continue to imitate other art?

What do you think?


Here are more photos from the San Juan Bautista Mission — which continues as an active parish today — and in need of funds for restoration projects.

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Field behind the San Juan Bautista Mission

From the website OldMissionSJB.org:

Mission San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797 and has seen a lot of wear and damage over the centuries.

The building is in need of earthquake retrofitting to guarantee survival from the inevitable shocks coming from the nearby San Andreas Fault.  There are items of great historic and artistic value in need of restoration, cleaning, and archival display. There is much that can be done to improve the educational and interpretive information in the museum and the church.


Related Post on Lola Jane’s World Blog:

5 thoughts on “St. John the Baptist Statue at Mission San Juan Bautista, California

    • Ohhh, I’m so happy to see your comment. You know, I think that was the overall feeling we got as well — it was peaceful (the photos are from when my niece visited from the East Coast).

  1. Pingback: Life Imitates Art (Remake 1) | Chris Breebaart Photography / What's (in) the picture?

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.