A museum portraying the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and 19th Century Danish and French art, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek stands proud in the city center near the main train station and Tivoli. Founder Carl Jacobsen aimed to educate the inhabitants of the city in international arts and cultures.
As many who believe the arts to be a way of teaching, Jacobsen went for something different. His collection, Glyptotek (an archive for sculptures), is not arranged in a scientific order, but more in a way that the order and works can speak to each individual visitor in a personal, direct way.
The museum itself is made up of architectural wonders, with a roof terrace overlooking the city’s rooftops and higher buildings, an egyptian crypt in the basement, and several floors with amazing works of art in between.
The ingenuity of this museum inspired me to start painting again, using completely new techniques, and so I am hoping that with this post I can inspire others. I will list more details, such as location and prices below.
As always, I hope you enjoy the pictures, and I do hope you will be inspired to go check it out!
The first exhibition I happened upon after getting my ticket sorted out was the Egyptian collection of antiquities; from statues of the gods and masterpieces extracted pyramid walls, to mummies and sarcophagi in the underground burial chambers dating back around 4000 years.
Continuing on from here, you are led through to antiquities from Greece and the Roman Empire (from 600BC to 500AD), mainly included due to Jacobsen’s fascination with the human body.
From the Nasothek; a display of pieces missing from the faces of many sculptures…
The word nasothek means a collection of noses in analogy with discotheque, a collection of records.
Until a hundred years ago ancient marble sculptures which had been damaged and in pieces were restored with new noses, arms and legs. In this way they were more attractive to museums and collectors.
Laterthe restorations were regarded as hiding the “true” ancient work: everything should be authentic. The new parts were removed and often left a work which had been carved preparatory to restoration.
The noses in marble and plaster all come from the Greek and Roman portraits in the Glyptotek.
Cybele, the Great Mother Goddess in Classical Disguise… ca. 60BC:
A Greek Cemetery:
Tombs were guarded by statues of lions, bulls and sphinxes, sometimes in pairs like the Glyptotek’s two lions. Graves for men who made themselves stand out during battle or competitions were honored with a nude statue portraying youth.
Spread throughout several rooms, these pieces are amazing, and lead to the fascinating concert hall…
Ancient Mediterranean Culture
A small room whose walls are lined with sarcophagi topped with reclining men and women, I had the feeling that their spirits would forever lounge about watching life around them purely for the entertainment…
“The landscape between the Arno and Tiber rivers, modern Tuscany, was, from roughly 900 to 400 BC, the Etruscan heartland. Fertile plains and lush pastures, mountains rich in minerals and anchorages facing the Mediterranean created favourable conditions for trade.”
This should hint at the fact that there are several beautifully adorned jars and other items used in trade on display.
Princely tomb from the Sabine Hills. It may not be too clear in this picture, but the wire shapes outline a horse and carriage, and within the tomb are jars of dried goods, shields and other precious and beautiful artifacts.
After the Princely Tomb, you are shown various aspects of life back then, including their views on death, rituals and more forms of decor.
We then move on down the hallways up the stairs in the next building, passing a few amazing statues on the way, this one being my favourite:
Then we have three floors of french masterpieces… absolutely amazing paintings, and my own personal piece of heaven.
Time for a breather? Need a smoke and a nice view to digest all you have seen so far? Take a break up on the roof top terrace, though remember the Glyptotek is only open until 5pm and so you may need to drag yourself away eventually…
A view of Tivoli and the Rådhus (City Hall) above. Below, perfect views of some of the external architectural wonders of the museum.
Way down at the bottom of the stairs, once you’ve managed to pull yourself away from the view, there is a hallway leading to the Winter Garden and Café Glyptoteket…
From here I was drawn to the hidden rooms surrounding the center plaza, filled with French sculptures from 1820 to 1900…
I then moved on to Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) sculptures. This artist is by far my favourite sculptor, not only because his works are so magnificent, but also because he shows exactly how much you can do without a high level of education in the arts. This man was self-taught…
“The Kiss” (above) and the “Burghers of Calais” (below) are amongst Rodin’s three most well-known works; the third being “The Thinker” (Outside the Glyptotek in the gardens).
It took me a long time to get myself away from his works, but when i finally managed I headed upstairs to the Danish Art floor:
The next floor up is set aside for Edgar Degas’ bronze sculptures. As one of only four museums in the world, the Glyptotek has the complete collection of Degas’ studies of horses, bathing women and ballet dancers, executed in bronze.
After gazing at these wonderful works, I headed back down the stairwell:
Out around the building…
And into the Glyptotekhaven where one can spend the rest of the day, admiring the building and “The Thinker”…
I do hope this will inspire you to visit, you will find that the Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket is across the street and around the corner from København H, and behind Tivoli:
Open Tuesdays to Sundays: 11am – 5pm. Closed on Mondays.
Admission is very reasonable: Adults 75 Dkk (Eur 11), Children under 18 years free. Sundays free admission all day.
As always, I hope you enjoyed the (rather insane amount of…) pictures, and…
I’ll check in soon from beautiful Copenhagen…