Kunsten at bevare et mesterværk

The Art of Conserving a Masterpiece

Special Exhibitions /27.10 - 31.12.2022

The objects in the abundant collections of the Glyptotek cover 6,000 years of art and culture. It goes without saying that the passage of time impacts these objects and leaves its mark. But what do museums do to prevent this? How do you conserve an object to make it look the same as on the day it was created? And what considerations, challenges – maybe even dangers – does the conservation of a masterpiece entail in the endeavour to ensure that it will bring joy to people both now and in the future?

This autumn, the Glyptotek will present 24 marvellous 19th and 20th-century French drawings alongside Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged 14 (1881). They have all ‘paid a visit’ to the conservation workshop and, after much circumspection and care, are ready once again to greet visitors to the museum.

Conservation can lead to new knowledge
Conserving and safeguarding a masterpiece is not always an easy task. The exhibition looks at the work of a conservator, concentrating on how they assess the condition of a work, formulate a diagnosis and decide on the treatment. Frequently, the work of a conservator also contributes to a brand new understanding of a work. That is why a conservator works closely with other professionals at the museum in an effort to understand and interpret the process, intention and expression of an artist.

One skirt and 24 sketches
See, for example, how one of Degas’ most important works, Little Dancer Aged 14 has acquired a new, reconstructed tutu. It might sound trite. But there are so many questions, and the answers are far from clear-cut. After all, what should you give her, when there are 3 different versions of the work? And what about volume, colour and length?

Learn too about how to care for an important, yet delicate cornerstone of the museum’s collection of French art. The exhibition features 24 works on paper by important artists, including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Paul Dubois, Eugène Delacroix, Honoré Daumier, Paul Gauguin, Armand Guillaumin, Jean-François Millet, Alfred Sisley and Édouard Vuillard.

Presenting sketches for sculptures, intimate black chalk drawings and large-format impressionist experiments on paper, the exhibition zooms in on some of the very special challenges a drawing poses, if it is to be conserved for posterity.

Our sincere thanks for generous support
The conservation of works on paper is generously supported by The Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces.



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.


Enjoy a delicious lunch at Picnic overlooking the Glyptotek's beautiful Winter Garden.

After Nature

Experience a new reading of the Glyptotek’s paintings by the Danish writer Josefine Klougart