After statue shatters at Met, others taken off pedestals

Art

October 13, 2002|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- As part of its investigation into the collapse of a 15th-century marble statue of Adam last weekend, the Metropolitan Museum has temporarily removed five other Renaissance statues that were nearby in the gallery, the Velez Blanco Patio.

"All the sculptures have been removed from the patio except one, Temperance by Giovanni Caccini, which was on an older pedestal that has been examined and has passed muster," said Harold Holzer, chief spokesman for the museum.

The museum's experts are examining the remains of Adam to understand how the statue fell and how to put it back together.

Some parts of the marble figure, by Tullio Lombardo (1455-1532), a Venetian sculptor, are remarkably intact, including the mass of curls on the head, which Holzer said were scratched and chipped largely in just one place.

Two years ago, six of the seven statues that were in the patio were put on new pedestals built by a contractor, Holzer said.

An initial assessment has led museum experts to believe that one side of a 4-inch-high base at the bottom of the boxlike 4-foot-high pedestal caved in, causing both the pedestal and the statue to tip over.

The other five pedestals will now be examined for signs of stress, Holzer said. The statues that have been withdrawn, all but one marble, include Lombardo's Young Warrior, a 16th-century marble statue of Alpheus and Arethusa by Battista di Domenico Lorenzi; a 16th-century copy of the famous bronze Roman-era statue Thorn Extracter; a 16th-century marble statue by Cristoforo Stati titled Orpheus With Violin; and a bust of Philip II of Spain by the 16th-century sculptor Pompeo Leoni.

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