Melba Levick – Mission San Miguel Arcangel
Mission San Miguel Arcángel was founded on July 25, 1797 in what is now California’s Central Coast. The site was chosen in part because of the large number of Salinan Indians that inhabited the area, whom the Spanish priests wanted to evangelize.
Unlike most of the other missions in California, Mission San Miguel's appearance is much the same as it was when founded. The inside has never been repainted; the pictures and the colors decorating the six-food thick adobe walls are the originals that were created and painted by Indian artisans under the direction of Esteban Munras of Catalonia, Spain.
The physical beauty of the structures and gardens is unparalleled, but among California’s twenty-one Spanish missions, San Miguel is in many ways considered to be the “poor stepson” of the chain, and has until now been lacking a dedicated book. Further, it is only a short distance from Nazraeli Press’ editorial office and olive farm. We are therefore especially pleased to announce this book, dedicated to the history and present state Mission San Miguel.
The gorgeous photographs comprising the main section of the book were made by renowned architectural and travel photographer Melba Levick. Levick made numerous trips to California’s Central Coast to photograph Mission San Miguel for this book and for posterity. The breathtakingly beautiful exterior views of the chapel and surrounding structures are interwoven with more intimate photographs of architectural details and design elements.
The book opens with an enlightening essay by Professor Rubén G. Mendoza, exploring the history of the missions and offering a glimpse into life in the Mission when it was first established. Dr. Mendoza is an archaeologist, writer, photographer, founding faculty, and SBGS Division Chair at the California State University, Monterey Bay.
With over 50 photographic books to her credit, Melba Levick is well known for her work as an architectural and travel photographer. Her photographs have been published and exhibited across North America and Europe for over thirty years, ranging in subject matter from California ranches and Spanish-style homes, to Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona, Mexican gardens, and the colors of India.
Mission San Miguel Arcángel is beautifully printed on special uncoated art paper and housed in a 3-panel cover of oxblood colored cloth. A beautiful object in its own right, this book will be an important addition to the literature already available on California’s missions, while serving as an invaluable resource to architects, archaeologists and historians.