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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Museum to mend shattered statue
Adam by Tullio Lombardo
The 15th Century sculpture shattered into pieces
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is trying to repair a 15th Century sculpture after it fell to the floor and shattered into pieces this week.

The statue of Adam by Venetian sculptor Tullio Lombardo, considered a key piece of Italian Renaissance art, lost arms and legs in the fall.

An ornamental tree trunk featured in the carving, which depicts Adam holding an apple and surrounded by a serpent and a grapevine, was also damaged.

The broken statue was discovered in the museum's indoor patio on Sunday night.

Museum staff have said they are optimistic that the statue can be restored.

"We think we have a good chance of returning the statue to public view with no signs of destruction visible to the untrained eye," said museum spokesman Harold Holzer.

Bizarre

The museum has determined that the sculpture fell after one side of its plywood pedestal base gave way, sending the figure face-forward to the floor.
Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York
The statue was on display at the Metropolitan Museum

Although vandalism has not been ruled out, it is considered unlikely. "It doesn't look like it was anything but a bizarre, horrible, natural thing," said Mr Holzer.

It is likely to be at least two years before the statue is ready for viewing again, but staff have said restoration efforts will be helped by the minimal damage to the head and torso.

All the other works in the museum's indoor patio, the Velez Blanco Patio have been removed and put in storage while museum staff investigate the remainder of the plywood panels on which they stand.

The Adam statue, which is thought to have been created between 1490-1495, originally formed part of a tomb for the Venetian aristocrat Andrea Vendramin, where it was paired with a statue of Eve.

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