Scientists from Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s SURF research group are currently testing the authenticity of Manneken Pis using x-rays and by examining samples. The aim is to determine whether the piece currently on display at the City of Brussels Museum is indeed the 1619 work of sculptor Jerome Quesnoy senior. The statuette has allegedly been stolen several times over the years, in 1745 by English troops, by a prisoner in 1817 and again in 1965. Each time the original piece apparently resurfaced, like in 1966 when the top section of the statuette was fished out the Brussels-Charleroi canal.
As part of the doctoral thesis of ULB student Geraldine, a team of researchers from VUB’s SURF, led by Dr. Amandine Crabbé is currently analysing the composition of the bronze making up the 2 sections of the statue.
In the first stage of the operation, the scientists x-rayed Manneken Pis. Professor Herman Terryn explained “It is easier to say that this is a fake than it is to be certain of its authenticity.”
In order to do a more detailed analysis, samples will be taken from the back of the statue by researchers at the City of Brussels, the composition of the bronze alloy, the corrosion and surface of the statuette all on the list for analysis.