Scientist examine authenticity of Manneken Pis

Scientists from the Brussels Dutch-Medium Free University (VUB) are investigating the authenticity of the Manneken Pis statue in Brussels. The small statue of a peeing boy attracts tourists from around the world in their droves. The university researchers will use X-ray technology and samples from what is thought to be the original statue that is on display in the Broodhuis Museum on the central market square to a certain if it really is the Manneken Pis made by the sculptor Hiëronymus du Quesnoy the Elder in 1619.

Over the years the statue has been “kidnapped” on several occasions: by English soldiers in 1745, by a prisoner in 1817 and a for the last time in 1965. However, each time the original statue is reported to have been found, even in 1966 when it was fished up out of the Brussels to Charleroi cannel.

A team from the VUB’s SURF research group lead by Amandine Crabbé is now analyzing the composition of the bronze of the statue’s two halves based on a doctoral thesis by the Geraldine Patigny of Brussels’ Francophone free university (ULB).

The researchers first subjected the Manneken Pis statue from the Broodhuis Museum to x-ray analysis. Professor Herman Terryn told journalists that “It is much easier to tell if something is fake than it is to say with certainty that it is genuine”.

In order to make a more accurate analysis. The researchers have asked the City of Brussels to allow than to take a few particles from the back of the statue so that they can be sent to a lab for analysis.