The Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket (usually referred to as the “Glyptoteket”) is not an encyclopedic museum. However, its collections go into depth in certain select areas making it an important museum. The Glyptoteket holds over 10,000 works divided between an ancient and a modern collection.
The Glyptoteket's collections reflect the interests of its founder, Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914). The son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries, Mr. Jacobsen was a serious art collector as well as a businessman. His art collection focused primarily on ancient art, particularly sculpture, but he also collected French 19th century art and Danish “Golden Age” paintings. Although his collections were kept in his home, he opened them for public view in 1882.
As Mr. Jacobsen's collections continued to grow, it became no longer practical to maintain them in his home. Theefore, in 1888, Mr. Jacobsen donated his collections of French and Danish art to the State of Denmark and the City of Copenhagen.
The donnation was on the condition that a building be constructed to house the art. The government selected a site behind the Tivoli Gardens. Mr. Jaobsen was not happy with this location, feeling that it was out of the way and that the Tivoli Gardens gave the area a frivolous atmosphere. Nonetheless he fulfilled his promise.
Architect Vilhelm Dahlerup designed the original building, which opened in 1897. A further donation by Mr. Jacobsen of ancient art required the construction of a second building in 1899. This new building was designed by Hack Kampmann but the Winter Garden connecting the new building and the original building was designed by Mr. Dahlerup.
The museum remained in this configuration for nearly a century. However, in 1996, a new building by Henning Larsen was added to house the French paintings. In 2006, the complex underwent a refurbishment and a further addition of display space.
The Glyptoteket maintains Scandinavia’s largest collection of Ancient Art. Mr. Jacobsen collected some 950 Etruscan statues as well as Greek and Roman works. The Egyptian collection has 1,900 pieces including mummies and tomb discoveries dating from 3000 BC into the 1st century AD. There is also an extensive collection of Near Eastern art.
Mr. Jacobsen was also an admirer of the contemporary art that he saw in exhibitions on his visits to Paris. As a result, the French collection includes both paintings and sculpture. There are works by David and Manet. The Impressionist collection includes works by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissaro and Sisley. Post-Impressionism is represented by works by Van Gogh and Cezanne as well as some 40 works by Gauguin. And the Glptotek boasts the largest collection of statues by Auguste Rodin outside of France.
Danish Golden Age painting (1800-1850) includes work by Eckersberg, Købke and Lundbye, Freund, Jerichau and Bissen.
While the museum may have seemed out-of-the-way in Mr. Jacobsen's day, it is in the center of Copenhagen today. It is still next to the Tivoli Gardens and is a short walk from City Hall Square and Copenhagen Centrl Station. For more information on visiting, see the Glypototek website.
For more places to see art
See our Places to See Art index
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Above and below: The Glyptoteket has the largest collection of Ancient Art in Scandinavia. (Photos: Marjorieann Matuszek).
Above: Claude Monet.
Below: The Glypoteket is one of only four museums in the world to own a complete collection of Degas’ bronzes. (Photos: Marjorieann Matuszek).
Places to see art - - Copenhagen, Denmark - - Ny Carlsberg Glypoteket