The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World

The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World

 

The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Sunday, May 27, 2018

The seventeenth-century painting The Paston Treasure (ca. 1663) is an enigmatic masterpiece. Commissioned by either Sir William Paston, first Baronet (1610–1663), or his son Robert Paston, first Earl of Yarmouth (1631–1683), the identity of the painter, a Dutch itinerant artist working out of a makeshift studio at Oxnead Hall, remains unresolved, although candidates have been proposed. Adding to its mystique, the painting defies categorization because it combines several art historical genres: still life, portraiture, animal painting, and allegory. It has provided the opportunity to think anew about seventeenth-century studio practice and the painter-patron relationship. The painting now makes its North American debut at the Yale Center for British Art in an exhibition organized in partnership with the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, UK.

Unknown artist (Dutch School), The Paston Treasure (detail), ca. 1663, oil on canvas, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norwich, UK, courtesy of Norfolk Museums Service

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