K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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About this painting

John Vanderlyn, Landing of Columbus. Commissioned 1836/1837; placed 1847. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.

Date created
This work is believed to be in the public domain. Users are advised to make their own copyright assessment and to understand their rights to fair use.
Original image housed by U.S. Capitol Complex

See this painting in context

  • Prehistory, contact, and the Lost Colony: First part of a North Carolina history text for secondary students, covering the land, American Indians before contact with Europeans, Spanish exploration, the Roanoke colony, and the Columbian Exchange. (Page 5.1)

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In the classroom

  • See our collection of articles on visual literacy for ideas on using photographs meaningfully in the classroom.
Painting of Christopher Columbus arriving in the New World.  He holds a flag, surrounded by men with flags and spears.  Ships are in the water in the background. To the right, nude Indians watch from the woods.

Sizes available: 1024×673 | 300×197 | 450×296

John Vanderlyn’s painting, Landing of Columbus, commissioned in 1836/1837, depicts Christopher Columbus’ landing in the West Indies in 1492. Columbus holds the royal banner of Spain, laying claim to the land. He holds a sword in his right hand and his hat lies at his feet. Behind him are the other men who traveled on the voyage, including the captains of the Niña and the Pinta, who carry the banner of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Some of the men kneel on the ground, apparently looking for gold. Ships are visible in the water in the background. To the right, natives of the island — which they called Guanahani and Columbus named San Salvador — look on from the woods.