Where is the Hearst Castle?
Hearst Castle was the palatial estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It is located near San Simeon, California, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California in 1957, it is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for public tours. Hearst formally named the estate ‘La Cuesta Encantada’ (‘The Enchanted Hill’), but he usually just called it ‘the ranch’.
The Casa Grande Roman Pool
The pool appears to be styled after an ancient Roman bath such as the Baths of Caracalla in Rome c. 211-17 AD. The mosaic tiled patterns were inspired by mosaics found in the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. They are also representative of traditional marine monster themes that can be found in ancient Roman baths.
The Roman Pool is decorated from ceiling to floor with 1″ square mosaic tiles. These glass tiles, called smalti, are either colored (mainly blue or orange) or are clear with fused gold inside. The intense colors and shimmering gold of the tiles combine to create a breathtaking effect. The designs created by the tiles were developed by muralist Camille Solon.
Mosaic Design Inspiration
The inspiration for some of these designs came from the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Hearst was affected by the beauty of the mosaics in the mausoleum and incorporated similar styles into his Roman Pool. The walls of the mausoleum are marble but the vaulted arches are composed of blue and gold smalti. The roofs and dome are covered with mosaics of night blue, powdered with stars. The Roman Pool is similar to the mausoleum with its blue and gold color scheme and stylized star patterns. It differs because marble was only used in the statues, not on the walls, and their are no religious murals.
Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:
gold leaf tesserae (mosaic gold) – 24k gold-leaf tesserae are made up of a glass support layer (usually transparent, at times opaque red or coloured) less than one centimetre thick. The 24k gold metal leaf is then sandwiched between the support and a thin protective glass layer (the cartellina). In tesserae the colour shade is determined by the purity of the metal, the thickness of the leaf, the colour, if any, of the cartellina and of the support. m.a.s.mosaic glossary