Esteban Munras

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Esteban Carlos Munras (1798–1850) was a 19th-century artist, probably best known for the vibrantly-colored frescoes that adorn the chapel interior at Mission San Miguel Arcángel in California.


Having studied art in his native city of Barcelona, Spain, Munras immigrated to the United States as a young man, ultimately making his home in Monterey.

Munras was a dealer in cattle hides and tallow, the products of his Rancho San Vicente. He built Casa Munras, the first home to be constructed outside the walls of the El Presidio Reál de San Carlos de Monterey, where he established a thriving trading house attached to the family home. Munras imported fine household furnishings and necessities to the earliest settlers in Monterey, California's first capital.[1] His wife, Catalina Manzanelli de Munras, was grantee of Rancho Laguna Seca and Rancho San Francisquito.

At the request of mission priest Father Juan Cabot, also a native of Barcelona, Munras traveled to Mission San Miguel Arcángel, north of Paso Robles, in the early 1820s. Various religious-themed scenes (known as the "Munras murals") were painted by the local Salinan Indians under Munras' direction.[2] His designs reflected the Neo-Classical tastes of the period, and the reredos (main altarpiece) reflects knowledge of an artist who had seen the fashionably decorated churches in Mexico of that era. The interior has remained untouched and has been preserved in its original state.[3]

Munras died in 1850 in Monterey.


  1. ^ "San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission: The Munrás Family Heritage Museum". Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  2. ^ Munras Murals
  3. ^ Field, Maria Antonia (1914). Chimes of Mission Bells: An Historical Sketch of California and Her Missions. Philopolis Press, San Francisco, CA.