Rodin's Thinker cast vandalised in Argentina

Image caption,
The sculpture is a popular tourist attraction in Buenos Aires

A cast of Auguste Rodin's famous The Thinker sculpture has been vandalised in Buenos Aires.

The bronze work, which is the third of 22 sculptures from the original mould, was spray-painted pink and given green hair and a shoulder tattoo.

Last week government officials began cleaning the sculpture, blasting it with water to remove the paint.

However art conservationists are now concerned it may have suffered more damage from the aggressive technique.

Considered a masterpiece of late 19th century art, The Thinker is the French sculptor's most recognisable work.

Exhibited on a plinth in the main square in the Argentinian capital, in front of the national congress building, the sculpture is a popular tourist attraction in the city.

Patina damage

But art expert Cristina Lancellotti told AFP the cleaning may have done more harm than good "because irreversible damage could result to the original patination".

The bluish-green patina that forms on the surface of bronze objects over time, due to oxidation, gives the metal artwork its unique look. It is considered an integral part of the world-renowned sculpture.

Authorities are now considering whether to relocate the sculpture closer to the actual parliament building or place a protective metal grill around the artwork.

The original bronze and marble statue is on display at the Rodin Museum in Paris, while other casts can be found around the world, including sites in Japan and Brussels.

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