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CAE Associates Engineers Help Restore Tullio's Adam

Tullio Adam FEA
November 12, 2014

CAE Associates' engineers Pat Cunningham and Mike Bak played an instrumental role in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s reconstruction of Tullio’s Adam, now on back on display after a 12-year absence.  In 2002, the pedestal that the statue was displayed on collapsed and Adam fell to the floor, breaking into 28 large pieces and hundreds of small fragments.

Traditional restoration methods require drilling holes into the stone and inserting pins, causing permanent damage to the marble. One of the most important objectives of the conservation team was to employ repair methods that were fully reversible whenever possible, with the goal of returning Adam to his original beauty. The conservation team developed several new techniques, that have changed the world of monumental sculpture conservation.

CAE Associates worked closely with the Met’s conservators, performing strength analysis of the critical joins of the statue. Using the digital model of the assembled pieces, structural finite element models of the entire statue were created, with particular focus on the left ankle and left knee.  By parametrically defining the pin size and location in the joins, CAE Associates' provided the Met's conservators with a tool that could evaluate the need the for pins as well as determine the optimum number of pins, their size and location.

"CAE Associates’ analytical contribution was critical to the Tullio conservation team, allowing them to make difficult decisions that would have a major impact on the treatment of the sculpture," said Carolyn Riccardelli, Conservator, Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Check out the front page article in the New York Times.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Special Exhibition: Tullio Lombardo's Adam, A Masterpiece Restored will run from November 11, 2014 - July 2015. 

To learn more about all of the innovative techniques used in the restoration of Adam, read the MMA Journal article: The Treatment of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam: A New Approach to the Conservation of Monumental Marble Sculpture