Perfect Poses?

Special Exhibitions /01.03 - 16.06.2019

French sculpture of the 19th century was a deeply felt passion both with Carl Jacobsen, founder of the Glyptotek, and Calouste Gulbenkian, founder of the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. In Perfect Poses? we present the French sculpture of both collectors from a new angle – working from the poses of the sculptures.

In the exhibition the Glyptotek’s renowned collection of sculpture, which includes works by such great French artists as Carpeaux, Dalou, Maillol and Rodin, meets matching sculptures from Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. Thus the exhibition is at once a unique encounter between two collections and an updated look at a period in sculptural history which has long languished in the shadow of 20th century modern art.

Body and Dance

With its point of departure in the exhibition’s focus on poses, the Glyptotek, in collaboration with the Tuborg Foundation, has developed live activities and an educational programme which – targeting particularly the young – focuses on bodily ideals and the body as a means of expression.

The live activities present a broad spectrum. In collaboration with Dansekapellet and the performance collective Disturbing Business the younger visitors can try their strength at voguing. The dance association TangoAmor invites you into “tango salons” in the Glyptotek’s Central Hall and during the Easter Holiday families with children can take part in a sculpture dance in the exhibition.  During the period of the exhibition there will also be a Slow evening with focus on the body through art, guided tours, talks, music and dance.

The educational programme has been devised in collaboration with Professionshøjskolen København. Students from two health programmes will be using the exhibition as the jumping off point to explore themes concerning the body, health and the good life. Some of the students will take part in a voluntary youth panel, one of whose tasks will be to create an event about body and gender in connection with the exhibition.

From Antiquity to the 20th Century

The human body has been the sculptor’s favourite motif from as far back as antiquity. It was not until the 20th century that sculpture became abstract and experimental. It is specifically the body in sculpture which has, since antiquity, been the pivotal point for the feelings and narratives the artists have wanted to express concerning the great universal themes of human life. The history of sculpture as an art can, therefore, also be seen and related through the way the artists through the ages have let body language, movement, and, not least, pose speak about such themes as love, loss, sorrow – life and death.

The idea of a universal human body language was essential to the Glyptotek’s founder, Carl Jacobsen’s, fascination with both ancient classical sculpture and the figurative French sculpture of his own era. He believed that sculpture expressed the basic human condition in an intuitive, understandable manner. Figurative sculpture is something which can be experienced and understood without having an art historical background. Here we rediscover the core of his passion for both art and the accessibility of it to people.

This exhibition has been realised through a unique collaboration between the Glyptotek and the internationally famous art museum, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.

The exhibition is currently held in Lisbon until 4th February and will be shown at the Glyptotek from 1st March to 16th June 2019. The exhibition is being curated in a close collaboration between Classical Archaeologist Rune Frederiksen PhD, Head of Collections at the Glyptotek, and the art historians of the Gulbenkian.



Our sincere thanks for generous support of the exhibition from:

The Augustinus Foundation

The Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation

The live activities and the educational programme is developed in collaboration with:

The Tuborg Foundation

perfect poses


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.


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