It hasn’t drawn much attention yet, but the Vatican has quietly announced the discovery of what it believes is the first artistic representation of native Americans. A detail of a fresco by the Renaissance artist Pinturicchio, discovered during restoration work in the Vatican Museums, depicts men dressed only in feathered headdresses who appear to be dancing, and another on horseback. The painting was completed in 1494, shortly after Christopher Columbus returned from the New World with a detailed description of natives who painted themselves, danced and gave gifts of parrots. For hundreds of years, the frescoed figures were hiding in plain sight – sort of. They are part of the background in
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