An Undiscovered Treasure Was Hidden in Plain Sight at Hearst Castle

The painting was purchased back in 1927.

Hearst Castle, the former home of publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst, boasts a large collection of art that guests can view while touring the sprawling estate. But two guests noticed something unusual about one particular painting hanging in the grand Assembly Room.

According to a story in San Luis Obispo Tribune, “that changed last fall when, in the illumination of the late-afternoon sun, two ultra-observant guides, Carson Cargill and Laurel Rodger, noticed a previously undetected inscription that indicated when the painting was likely created and who the artist was.

After translating the Latin monogram and inscription, Museum Director Mary Levkoff determined that the painting of the Annuciation—the moment when the archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, son of God—was the work of Spanish artist Bartolomé Pérez de la Dehesa in 1690.

“This is a major new discovery for the oeuvre of Pérez,’ said Museum Director Mary Levkoff.”

You can read more about the painting and it’s mysterious journey here.