Between the 15th and 18th centuries, European curiosity about the world heightened. Nations seeking to expand their empires sent missions to every corner of the globe, gathering information and establishing colonies. Despite their lingering political ramifications, the voyages during the so-called Age of Exploration provided immense amounts of information about the increasingly interconnected world.

Each voyage included a court-appointed artist to record exploration findings. Responsible for cataloging every detail of the destination, the artists brought back valuable depictions of the land, the people and their customs, and flora and fauna native to the area. The pieces established a visual testimony to accompany written accounts created by expedition leaders.
The Picturing the World collection illustrates the rich history of the Age of Exploration through several prints of flora, fauna, and maps.