COVID-19 Response

Following guidance from the California Department of Public Health and local public health authorities, we are increasing public access and services in a phased approach at Hearst Castle®/Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument®. Before visiting, please review the COVID-19/FAQ tab on the home page. There you will find information and frequently asked questions regarding your trip to Hearst Castle. Updates about the overall Department of Parks and Recreation response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on For more information from the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department click

Hearst Castle tours and the Visitor Center is currently closed. When we reopen, advanced reservations will be required to visit Hearst Castle and/or the Visitor Center

This charming sculpture was created in Spain and likely dates to about 1630-80. The figure represents the Virgin as a young girl, but the seraphim (small heads around the base) refer to her assumption into heaven after her death, while the open book refers to the signal event in her life: it is inscribed with the Archangel Gabriel’s annunciation to her that she would give birth to Jesus Christ. The sculpture is polychromed in estofado, a technique in which most of the sculpture (excluding the flesh) is covered with gold leaf which is then coated with matte tempera paint. Designs incised into the paint reveal the shining gold underneath in patterns that were intended to resemble those of rich brocade fabrics. The Virgin’s outer garment was probably repainted white with flowers in the 18th century. The sculpture is enhanced with perfectly preserved glass eyes, which connote the artist’s skill in incorporating them.Ā William Randolph Hearst bought the sculpture at auction in New York in 1930.