Carl Jacobsen was one of the owners of the Carlsberg brewing company and a philanthropist and art collector. He donated the Little Mermaid statue that has become one of Copenhagen’s symbols and also gave the city this excellent art collection. It is well presented and well worth a visit.
The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is in a classical-style building across the street from Tivoli Gardens. It is filled with art ranging from ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt to more modern sculpture, including a great deal by Rodin and Degas. There is also a fair amount of classical-style sculpture by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, who worked primarily in the early 1800s and has his own museum in the city.
When you come into the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek you quickly enter an attractive 3-story atrium conservatory that itself contains fountains and other sculptures. The atrium is designed to draw you into the galleries on the sides by glimpses of dramatic art. There is a nice café and gift shop in one corner.
It would be difficult to list all of the wonderful pieces here, but it’s well worth a stroll through the galleries. It’s all well-marked and there are ready English translations where needed. Some pieces are true masterpieces, others are important historically, and others are more thought-provoking.. One of my favorites was a study of the same model from a day in June, 1833 by four different Danish artists side by side, along with different samples of each artists’ work. None of the artists is a household name (at least in the United States), but each is very good.
One of our favorite displays was of dozens of carved stone noses used to repair statues whose noses had broken off. We went around afterwards and found several busts that had obviously taken advantage of this kind of fix.
The paintings and sculpture are well marked and they have helpful information in both English and Danish in many rooms.
We greatly enjoyed our time here, but like any art museum it may be hard to take in all at once. We spent about 2 hours here, plus a little time in the café, and then went onto more outdoor activities. I would gladly go back again.
One note: While we were there they were renovating the part of the Impressionist art area (including several French artists, as well as Van Gogh), which was closed. If those galleries are important to you it might make sense to check to see if they are open yet.
Hoist a Carlsburg after you’ve visited to thank the family for this unique gift. We did.
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