New York, NY – The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s marble sculpture Adam by Tullio Lombardo (ca. 1455–1532) will return to public view on November 11, following a tragic accident in 2002 and an unprecedented 12-year conservation project. It is the first life-sized nude marble statue since antiquity and the most important Italian Renaissance sculpture in North America. Tullio carved Adam in the early 1490s for the monumental tomb of doge Andrea Vendramin, now in the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, and it is the only signed sculpture from that iconic monument. The sculpture and its restoration will be the focus of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam: A Masterpiece Restored, the inaugural installation in the Museum’s new Venetian Sculpture Gallery.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum, said: “We are proud to return this great Tullio sculpture to public view in a beautiful new gallery. Our extraordinary conservators collaborated with a team of experts over 12 years to pursue this extremely challenging work. The results of their care and innovation are stunning.”
The installation of this gallery was made possible by Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ignazio Peluso, Ada Peluso and Romano I. Peluso.
On the evening of October 6, 2002, the pedestal supporting Tullio Lombardo’s 15th-century marble Adam collapsed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Vélez Blanco Patio. The sculpture, which has been in the Museum’s permanent collection since 1936, was severely damaged. In the wake of the initial shock and distress over this accident, the Metropolitan Museum made a commitment to undertake a conservation project that would, to the fullest extent possible, return the statue to its original appearance. After 12 years of painstaking and pioneering conservation research and treatment, augmented by curatorial research, Tullio Lombardo’s restored masterpiece Adam will be unveiled in a new gallery specially created for this occasion.
The Metropolitan Museum, renowned for the depth of its curatorial, conservation, and scientific resources, was able to embark on this uniquely challenging restoration project by assembling a team of skilled and dedicated conservators, scientists, engineers, and imaging experts from both inside and outside the Museum. Their analysis, testing, and treatment have yielded a beautifully restored statue. The project has also resulted in significant advances in the field of sculpture conservation, which will be presented in this exhibition and in the 2014 volume of the Metropolitan Museum Journal.