di Marcello Mento
Vatican City, April 26 - What appear to be the first depicted images of Native Americans have been found in a painting by Italian artist Pinturicchio at the Borgia apartments in the Vatican after a recent renovation, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has reported. Experts, including Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci, believe a detail in the artwork refers to the natives explorer Christopher Columbus found when he travelled to the New World for the first time. Paolucci points to a detail contained in fresco of the Resurrection that was made clear by work carried out by art restorer Maria Pustka. ''Just behind the Resurrection, behind a soldier who is enthralled by the incredible event he is seeing, you are able to discern nude men wearing feathers who appear to be dancing,'' Paolucci said. Upon his return, Colombo handed over his diary and the information it contained was kept secret for political, Paolucci explained. ''It would be far-fetched though to believe that the papal court was oblivious to what Colombo saw when he got to the other end of the world,'' he added. ''If the impressions of those nude, good, happy men who gave parrots as gifts and painted their bodies red and black are the dancing figures of Pinturicchio's Resurrection, this would be the first representation of native Americans''.