April 6 | Behind the Fig Leaf | Met Museum

Wednesday, April 8, 6:00 p.m.

The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium Show location on map

Luke Syson, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Chairman, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Twelve years after the terrible accident that left him in pieces, the painstaking restoration of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam (ca.1490–95), arguably the most important Renaissance marble in America, is complete. He now stands resplendent in a new, specially designed gallery, and, once again, we can appreciate the subtlety of Tullio’s carving and the beauty of Adam’s figure. But there is one feature that, if we’re not attentive, we might take for granted: his fig leaf. So habituated are we to the coy convention of the leaf that hides the genitals of sculpted male nudes that we have almost ceased to reflect upon its origins and meaning. Here it is fundamental to the story of Adam—a concealment that actually draws attention to itself. And its inclusion opens up two larger questions: how did sculptors of the Renaissance incorporate narrative within their depictions of a single figure? And, how did they represent the invisible using a medium that is so palpably of our world? Straight off his TEDxMet talk, with nearly one million views, Luke Syson discusses Adam and the fig leaf.
This program is in conjunction with the exhibition Tullio Lombardo’s Adam: A Masterpiece Restored, on view through July 2015.
This program is held in conjunction with Viewpoints: Body Language, an interpretive project that invites you to explore sculptures of the human body through multiple viewpoints, in the galleries and online. Share your viewpoints on social media after the talk by using #MetViewpoints and tagging @metmuseum.
Tickets to this event includes Museum admission.
More info available here.