“I did not wish to build just any old museum. I wanted to construct a temple of beauty, in which art could speak to everyone.”
So said Carl Jacobsen at the inauguration of the Glyptotek on 1 May 1897.
This year it is 125 years since Jacobsen stood on the podium and the Glyptotek first opened its doors to visitors.
It all started in a house in Valby, when the brewer and art patron Carl Jacobsen built a winter/sculpture garden to house his art collection. By 1882, the brewer had so many sculptures that he opened his collection to the public.
As the collection grew, Jacobsen was forced to find new, bigger premises closer to the city. In 1888, Carl and his wife Ottilia Jacobsen donated their collection of modern art to the state. In return, the state and the City of Copenhagen would provide a site and contribute to the construction of a building that would house the works of art.
But Jacobsen was not satisfied with the location on Dantes Plads.
He found the location “somewhat remote”, adding that “its proximity to what I consider the rather vulgar Tivoli Gardens was not particularly appealing either.”
But that is what happened. The Glyptotek, as we know it today, opened in 1897, and Jacobsen’s vision for the museum was crystal clear: “Living art belongs to living people! But it should not be the preserve of the wealthy alone. It should also give pleasure to the ordinary man and woman in the street, so that they too can sense the power of beauty.”
A Colourful Celebration
The Glyptotek has always been synonymous with colour and pleasure!
As part of the anniversary celebrations, the walls of several of the Glyptotek’s exhibition rooms have been restored to their original colours, so the museum will look just as magnificent as it did when it opened back in 1897.
The work is the result of a major archaeological investigation into the original colours and endless hours in the archives. Throughout the rooms, we can see small colour charts on the walls. These are what the conservators used in their investigations. They reveal the numerous different shades of colour that graced the rooms across the years.
If you want to read more, find the brochure about the colours of the Glyptotek at the museum.
In cooperation with the Carlsberg Laboratory, we have brewed a special anniversary beer.
Oase, the Glyptotek’s newly crafted beer, pays tribute to the flowers and Mediterranean ambience of the Winter Garden. Hibiscus flowers lend the beer an elegant pink colour, while chamomile, orange zest and lemongrass make it wonderfully refreshing. Taste in the museum’s café.
Memories from the Glyptotek
Every day is a magical day at the Glyptotek, but unfortunately it is not all the magical moments that we see or hear about. Therefore, as part of the museum’s anniversary celebration, we asked you to send us all your best memories from the museum.
Read a selection of the museum visitors’ sweet memories from the Glyptotek.
For their generous support, we would like to express our gratitude to , Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond and Ny Carlsbergfondet.
The Small Salon
Experience a small thematic exhibition about the French artist Paul Gauguin’s residence in Copenhagen.
Admission for a whole year to The Glyptotek's fantastic collection, the many special exhibitions, events and the relaxing Winter Garden.
See the exciting activities and events, The Glyptotek has to offer. Please note, the events in Danish will not be presented here. Go to the Danish version of the homepage to see all events.