Creating History through Art

Article excerpt

Arts and artifacts of the era of Christopher Columbus attest to the fact that the intellectual and spiritual currents of fifteenth century Europe reached well beyond the confines of that continent--into the Far East, the kingdoms of western Africa and the heartland of the Americas themselves. This critical turning point in world history will soon be the focus of an intriguing exhibition entitled "Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Conceived by an international team of more than 30 historians, anthropologists and art historians and sponsored by a consortium of corporations from Japan and the United States, the exhibition will include more than 600 paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative objects, maps and scientific instruments from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Opening to the public on October 12, 1991, "Circa 1492" will run through January 12, 1992, and will occupy some 25,000 square feet in the Gallery's East Building, the sole venue of the exhibit. The exhibition will be divided into three main sections: "Europe and the Mediterranean World," "Toward Cathay," and "The Americas." More than 31 countries throughout the world have loaned the Gallery works by artists as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Sesshu Toyo, Shen Chou, Islamic scribes, the bronze-casters of Benin and the master goldsmights of the Americas. …

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