Rodin’s Thinker is quite possibly the world”s most famous sculptures. In 2007 the Singer Laren museum was burgalarized and 7 statues were stolen. One of them was a Rodin’s Thinker. The men did not want to sell the statues but rather wanted to destroy them and sell them for scrap metal. 6 statues were destroyed but a badly damaged Thinker was recovered. The statue, with an estimated value of between 3 and $10,000,000 had been hacked in to by the men as the tried to take it apart so they could melt it down. Over these past years the team at Singer Laren have repaired the statue.

Two images below are of the broken Thinker.

The Thinker has a headache.

3D scans were taken of the damaged Thinker and of the original mold kept by the Musee Rodin in Paris and they were compared. Then Materialise was asked to 3D print the Thinker. We 3D printed the statue on one of our Materialise Mammoth machines, the largest 3D printers in the world. A mold was made of the 3D print and this was used by the restorers to restore the statue.

The restauration team studying a new part for the Thinker and a new part, based on our 3D print, in place.

Not only can we make your art with 3D printing, we can also resore it. The image at the top of the page is the final result as is the one below.

You can see the Thinker at the exhibition “De Denker Denkt Weer” (The Thinker Thinks Again) at the Singer Laren, which runs from 28.01-22.05.2011

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Have you read about the supercar interior we 3D printed? The 3D printed shoes perhaps? Or would you rather read the longest blog post you’ve ever read? Its about IP and 3D printing?

All images are Copyright Kees Haageman.

  • flink

    Such great work.

    I””m not big on art, but still view the theft and damage as an evil act.

    My grandchildren might appreciate art more than I do, but I””m glad you””ve restored something so cool. Making things right is important.

  • Abbas Khan

    Wow, it looks great and polished. Such innovative 3D printing will enable new artists to create great works of art in the future too, maybe?

    Good Good ;p

  • @Abbas Khan,

    Many artists are already using us to 3D print art:

    If you””re interested in that we should have some exciting news for you next week.


  • Camille

    Why wasn””t the “Thinker” in the Rodin Museum / outdoor garden in Philadelphia referenced? (down along the same promenade as the Philadelphia Museum of Art), Just wondering since I used to visit it throughout my college years in art school in Philly. Fond memories. Beautiful sculpture.

  • Wow, how long did it took to make this statue?

  • The part of the missing leg was made by Protometals. Printed on a 3D-Systems Invision machine and cast in bronze by Protometals (company is taken over by RP2 in 2012). The picture of the 3 people inspecting the bronze leg shows the inspection of the cast in the Protometals venue.
    Reaction is a bit late, but better late than never.

  • Tatiana

    Thanks for the reaction!