Dutch police recover bronze cast of Rodin's The Thinker

A bronze cast of Rodin's The Thinker, stolen earlier this week along with six other sculptures from the garden of the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam, has been recovered.

A cast of Rodin's The Thinker has been recovered in the Netherlands after thieves snatched seven sculptures earlier in the week from the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam.

Museum director Ineke Middag confirmed on Saturday the Rodin piece had been recovered on Friday but is missing one leg.According to the website dutchnews.nl, Middag saidit appeared that there were efforts to cut it into pieces.

She says she believes the bronze sculptures, sitting in the gardens of the museum, were taken to be melted down. The museum is in the former home of late American artist and steel heir William Singer, who died in 1943.

'The sculptures are worth far more as pieces of art.'-Lucas Bonekamp, spokesman for the Singer Laren Museum

The thieves took the sculptures on Wednesday, smashing through the museum's garden fence with a vehicle. Middag says they ignored the iron statues, preferring the highly valued bronzes.

The seven are reportedly worth hundreds of thousands of euros.

"The sculptures are worth far more as pieces of art. It's a big loss for Dutch heritage," said Lucas Bonekamp, a spokesman for the museum.

The theft is just part of a string of brazen crimes in the past year involving large statues made of bronze. Bronze is an alloy largely made of copper and tin and the market for copper and other scrap metals has hit record highs recently.

Several valuable bronze sculptures, including a 2.1-tonne Henry Moore work, have been stolen in Britain.

Paris factory made bronze cast

The Singer family bought The Thinker cast in the 1930s, according to museum officials.

The Rodin Museum in Paris says there are at least 74 castings of the famous bronze in three different sizes.The Singer one was made by a factory in Paris.

The Thinker, which Rodin began work on in 1880, was the sculptor's first work to be exhibited in a public place. The statue was inaugurated in front of Paris's Pantheon in 1906, the museum says.

It depicts a massive nude man in deep thought, leaning over his legs, his right arm bent with the elbow on his left knee and hand underneath his chin.The iconic statue has since come to symbolize philosophical thought.