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Vatican Museums discovery: 1st European representation of Native Americans?

April 29, 2013

Experts at the Vatican Museums believe that they have discovered the earliest representation of Native Americans by a European artist.

During restoration work in the Borgia apartments, experts noticed that a detail in a fresco by the Italian artist Pinturicchio (1454- 1513) showed several naked men, with feathers in their hair, dancing. The image may have been based on descriptions provided by Christopher Columbus after his trip to the New World. If so, remarked Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, “this would be the first representation of Native Americans” in European art.


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