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Around the World at the Time of Columbus

Compare and Contrast: Choose two of the featured objects. What do they have in common? How do they differ? Consider the materials they are made of, the subjects depicted, how realistic they appear, and how they were used. Replace one of the objects with a third and repeat the comparison with this new pair. How might the differences you notice reflect differences among the people who made the objects and where they lived?  

Timeline of Art History: Find out what was happening in regions around the world during the 15th century by using the Timeline of Art History produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( Does the timeline format reveal anything surprising to you? Choose an area you would like to learn more about and investigate it using the Timeline and other reference sources.  

Map of the World: Create your own variation of the Metropolitan's Timeline of Art History (see previous activity). Select images of art from the 15th century and affix them to a world map. Research what was going on in each location at the time and add a summary to the map. A collection of works from the Institute's collection is available using Art Collector. Click here to get started or here to learn more about Art Collector. (Once in the collection, click on an image and then on the "More Info" button to find out where and when an object was made.)  

Further Reading:
Levenson, Jay. Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991.  

September 2005