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Andrea della Robbia’s polychromed terracotta of St. Michael the ArchangelWeighing Souls at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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by Paul Jeromack

Accidents will happen, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art seems to have an unfortunate knack for smashing its most beautiful Italian Renaissance sculptures. On Oct. 8, 1990, its most precious marble sculpture of the period, Tullio Lombardo’s life-size Adam (Venetian, 1490-95) -- considered to be the first monumental sculpture of a nude in the Renaissance -- collapsed and broke into pieces when its hollow plywood base buckled under its weight.