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After the Fall: The Conservation of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam

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Metropolitan Museum of Art / New York / Art

“For a piece that important to be down was something catastrophic,” says Larry Becker, the senior conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He’s recalling the fall of Tullio Lombardo’s exquisite Adam—not the subject’s fall from innocence, but the day in 2002 when the pedestal gave way under the marble statue, leaving it in hundreds of fragments. A Renaissance work of Adam’s quality is rare in the United States. Lombardo’s Adam is also one of the earliest Renaissance nudes to take inspiration from antiquity. In this short documentary, conservators describe the wreckage as a tragic crime scene. The painstaking process of picking up the pieces and making Adam whole again is fascinating. He is now rightfully restored to his prominent place in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts gallery 504. —C.J.F.

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