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"For some reason — many reasons — we need to have our superstars, our so-called geniuses, and we need them complete, every detail of their lives and works, however minor, accounted for, fitted into place, given significance. That is how traditional art history works, and “Michelangelo’s First Painting” feels like a classic exercise in that tradition, equal parts science project, forensic document and romantic quest."

What is "equal parts sicence project?" Is it an particular sicence project?

Or is "equal" a verb here? The tradition equals part of science project, part of forensic document, and part of romantic quest???

I think it's a adjective phrase modifying "tradition."
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It means that this work has three different characteristics -- it's a science project, it's a forensic document and it's also a romantic quest -- and these characteristics are present in equal amounts ("equal parts"). Compare the simpler sentence: "The mixture is equal parts sand and cement."
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thank you, but why doesn't the writer use "equals," since "Michelangelo's First Paniting" is singular?
"equal" is not a verb; it's an adjective, modifying "parts".
Thank you very much.

So "equal parts science project, forensic document and romantic quest" is a noun phrase describe "tradition."

And I can further change it to:

Michelangelo’s First Painting” feels like a classic exercise in that tradition, which is equal parts science project, forensic document and romantic quest."
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akdomSo "equal parts science project, forensic document and romantic quest" is a noun phrase describe "tradition."
No, I don't read it that way. I read it as describing "Michelangelo’s First Painting". It can be assumed, by implication, that the tradition mentioned also has these same characteristics, but that's not literally what it says.