The first European renditions of Native Americans, made shortly after Christopher Columbus returned from a first trip to the Americas, may have been discovered under layers of dust on a neglected fresco at the Vatican.
Preservationists working on a Renaissance fresco in the Vatican have uncovered what experts believe is the first European representation of Native Americans, from 1494.
Writing in the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the director of the Vatican Museum, Antonio Paolucci, said the previously unnoticed detail was discovered in a Resurrection scene painted by the Renaissance master Pinturicchio.
Covered by centuries of soot, the restoration of the painting revealed a small depiction of naked men with feathered headdresses who appear to be dancing. A man on horseback is also visible.