A Sculpture of Adam by Tullio Lombardo
With works in every known medium, from every part of the world, throughout all points in history, exploring the vast collection of the Museum of Modern Art was an overwhelming experience. The objects in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts are an important historical collection, reflecting the development of a number of art forms in Western Europe. The department's holdings covered sculpture in many sizes, woodwork and furniture, ceramics and glass, jewelry, and tapestries. The gallery attracted my appreciation of the realistic qualities of the human body often portrayed in sculpture. In my examination of the works, I came across a particular sculpture that portrayed…show more content…
Even though forbidden from God, temptation leads them to eat from the tree and perform the first sin of mankind. In the form of a serpent, Satan seduces evil and gets Adam and Eve expelled from paradise. At this point they realize their nakedness and cover themselves with leaves. I feel this is the moment of time depicted in the figure.
The body of Adam, fully nude with the exception of a leaf, is very realistic and accurate, greatly detailed from his tightly curled hair to the creases in his knuckles. Without even touching the work I can “see” the purity of its marble and the smoothness of its carving. The muscle and facial expression of Adam are remarkably convincing qualities, showing the overall tense feeling of Adam’s pose. He stands on a flat base, and it is seen there that he is leaning forward because both feet are slightly lifted off the ground. He seems to be moving in a forward direction. That encouraged me to explore the back of the sculpture, where I found the same remarkable realism through muscles depiction and perfected proportion.
The gap created because of original sin between God and man is rightly depicted in the pose and expression of Adam. The elements of light and shadow have many sharp projections. There are deep cavities with dark shadows that greatly effect the realism of the surface of the figure. Being unable to stay longer in paradise, Adam portrays intense guilt and seems to look like he is just about to