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Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - The Vinter Garden

Brewer Carl Jacobsen wanted to enrich the lives of his fellow men and women with international art and donated his personal collection of works to the Danish people in 1888. At that time, the collection was housed in the Glyptotheket building at the New Carlsberg brewery in Valby. However, Carl wanted the Danish government to display the collection in a new, larger building in Copenhagen, and in 1897 Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (today Glyptoteket) was opened at Dantes Plads 7 in the heart of the city. Glyptoteket receives around 350,000 visitors every year, and the museum houses more than 10,000 works of art, mainly representing ancient Mediterranean sculpture and French Impressionism.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - space for beauty

Brewer Carl Jacobsen placed himself at the service of art, opening the doors of his private home to give the public access to his impressive collection of artworks. Today, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an internationally acclaimed museum that has been a special element of the New Carlsberg Foundation’s work since 1902.

Located in Dantes Plads, Glyptoteket, as it is known today, was built in 1897 at the instigation of brewer Carl Jacobsen. His ambition was to give Copenhagen a temple of art – a collection of “the most and the best”. This ambition reflected Carl’s deep conviction that art can beautify, touch and enrich all human lives.

The actual idea of an art collection had arisen long before. Throughout his life, Carl Jacobsen was interested in the arts – an interest that became his life’s passion. By as early as 1882, as a patron and art collector Carl had accumulated so many sculptures that he decided to allow the public to view the collection by opening up his conservatory as a gallery. Inspired by King Ludwig of Bavaria’s Glyp­tothek in Munich, his collection at New Carlsberg was likewise named the Glyptotek. Here, the public could enjoy a discerning collection of works: Roman sarchophagi, portrait busts from the Syrian desert city of Palmyra, French statues, and copies of bronze statuettes found at Pompeii.

From the sculpture exhibition "From Block two Body" Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

In 1888, Carl Jacobsen donated his collection to the public and, in collaboration with Copenhagen Municipality and the Danish government, built Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Dantes Plads, Copenhagen, which opened in 1897. Here, Carl wanted the works and spaces to interact in “their own particular beauty, to which the town’s citizens felt instinctively drawn”, as he himself formulated his intention for the building with its famous subtropical palm garden and elegant glass dome.

In 1902, Carl Jacobsen and his wife, Ottilia, established the New Carlsberg Foundation, one of the objectives of which was to help secure the financial basis for the running of Glyptoteket.

A unique world-class collection

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek has a comprehensive Paul Gauguin collection and displays his artistic development - from Paris via Copenhagen to Brittany and Tahiti.

As a brewer, Carl Jacobsen made his beer in accordance with the motto “Semper Ardens” – Latin for “always burning”. This motto applied just as well to his relationship with the arts, and he passed on his love of art to his son, Helge. After his father’s death, Helge devoted himself passionately to collecting modern French paintings.

Consequently, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek now houses Denmark’s largest collection of French Impressionist works by masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, van Gogh, Cézanne and Rodin. The museum also has a collection of works by Paul Gauguin, four of which were produced in the mid-1880s when the artist was living in Copenhagen. The collection is regarded as one of the finest in the world.

The masters of the Danish Golden Age are also represented in the museum, with major works by Eckersberg, Købke, Lundbye and others.

In 1996, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek was expanded with the addition of Henning Larsen’s award-winning wing in marble and concrete – which happened to be one of the internationally acclaimed architect’s own personal favourite works.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek’s collection consists of approximately 10,000 works of art. Here a major work of Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Aged Fourteen


Glyptoteket comprises four buildings. The architect Vilhelm Dahlerup designed the first building, dating from 1897, and the museum’s conservatory, dating from 1906. In the latter year, architect Hack Kampmann’s building was also opened to house the collection of ancient works. In 1996, Glyptoteket opened a new wing designed by architect Henning Larsen for the collection of French paintings.

The museum has a large library, which provides a venue for numerous research activities. The library covers the areas represented in the museum’s collections: Egyptian art, Greek and Roman sculpture focusing on Roman portraits, ancient Mediterranean art, and Danish and French sculpture and painting of the 19th century. Further reading about the library.

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