What sound does glazed terra cotta make when hitting the polished stone floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Whatever it is, nobody was around to hear it, when late last night or early this morning, the museum’s late 15th-century relief sculpture of Saint Michael the Archangel by Andrea della Robbia (pictured above) fell from its mount above a doorway in the European Paintings and Decorative Arts Galleries. The museum announced the accident in a statement issued this afternoon, explaining that, “Preliminary inspection indicates that the relief has not been irrevocably harmed and that it can be repaired and again presented to the public.” For now, the museum is leaving the sculpture where it is and keeping the immediate area closed to visitors before transferring the work to a conservation area in the building. Meanwhile, the museum pledges to “initiate a reinvigorated museum-wide examination as expeditiously as possible” while conservators work to reinvigorate Saint Michael. Good thing he was wearing armor.
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