Public Art Around The World

More Than Just The Plaque

Boy Extracting Thorn Statue

Boy Extracting Thorn statue

Public Art : Boy Extracting Thorn statue ( This is a copy of the bronze sculpture The Spinario)

Also known As :  Boy with Thorn, Boy Plucking a Thorn from the Foot, Fidele (faithful), Fedelino and/or ‘Spinario’ and Fedele Capitolino.

Sculptor : Unknown

Date of Copy: c.1800’s

Boy Extracting Thorn statue

Date of Original : The Spinario statue dates back to the Hellenistic Period between 5th- 4th century BC.

Description : A damaged marble statue of a naked young boy extracting a thorn from his foot, as he sits on a log.

Location : Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia

History of the Boy Extracting Thorn Statue : This marble copy of the famous ‘Fidele’ (faithful) statue was imported into Australia from Italy, in 1883.

The original statue known as ‘Fidele’ (faithful) or ‘The Spinario’ was a bronze Hellenistic statue given to the City of Rome by Pope Sixtus IV in the twelfth century.

Boy Extracting Thorn statue

The subject matter is believed to be the Roman messenger boy, Marcius, who, despite having a prickle in his foot, braved the pain to deliver his message to the Senate.

The original 1st Century BC statue was discovered between 1165-1167 (believed to be of Greek origins) but now stands in the centre of a room in the Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome . Other copies of thorn boy can be found in the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

This statue became one of the first to be copied during the Renaissance Period in both bronze and marble.

So Where Are The Copies ?

The original “Spinario” statue resides at Palazzo dei Conservatori in Rome .

A Roman marble copy of Spinario (Boy With Thorn) can be found in a corridor of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Severo da Ravenna and Jacopo Buonaccolsi made copies and renamed it “L’Antico”, but location unknown.

Antonello Gagini version is believed to now be in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Giovanni Fancelli and Jacopo Sansovino, made a copy for Francois I.


  1. Am sure I have seen a copy of this in the gardens at Yalta and also on a stairway in the Hermitage St Petersburg.
    I may be wrong !!

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