Chance observation identifies Hearst Castle painting

SAN SIMEON, Calif. - A painting that has been hanging at California's landmark Hearst Castle for decades has been identified as a 17th century work thanks to two guides who noticed a previously undetected monogram and inscription when it was illuminated by late afternoon sunlight last fall.

The Tribune of San Luis Obispo reports that Museum Director Mary Levkoff determined the painting was created by Spanish artist Bartolome Perez de la Dehesa in 1690.

The painting depicts the Annunciation - the angel Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus.

The work hangs in the massive main house of the elaborate estate built by the late newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst Castle is now part of the California state park system and is a major tourist destination.

Information from: The Tribune,

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