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Creating history through art.

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.

The section "Europe and the Mediterranean" will display scientific instruments from the fifteenth century as well as maps documenting the changing perceptions of the world resulting from the voyages of exploration. Da Vinci and Durer are compared as the quintessential artist/scientists of the Renaissance whose wide-ranging interests symbolize the breadth of the period's quest for knowledge. "Toward Cathay" will take the visitor on the route to China that Columbus proposed in his "Enterprise of the Indies" and through painting, sculpture and caligraphy, will survey the sophisticated civilizations of Japan, Korea, China and India as they existed in the late fifteenth century. "The Americas" section will survey the civilizations of both the North and South American continents as they existed at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. On view will be major works of Aztec sculptures and pre-Columbian Mexican codices, textiles from the Incan empire and masterful works in gold from Colombia and Costa Rica, many of them contributed by the countries themselves.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:'Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration,' exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Author:Goethals, Henry
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:May 1, 1991
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