We stood like a pair of Hemingway’s cats in the thin Scandinavian rain to photograph the oxidized lions washed dark at the front of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. A rainy day is always a good day to see a museum and the Carlsberg, the brainchild of the beer scion Carl Jacobsen, is one museum to visit when the weather encourages it.
The well-lit solarium of the winter garden speckled with koi ponds, tall palms, and miniaturized sculptures first welcomes you. There a popular cafe serves coffees, beers (from the Carlsberg Brewery naturally), organic lunches, and locally sourced treats. The most popular dining spot, where a reservation is needed, is along the terrace which overlooks the garden.
The museum’s two collections are antiquities and French and Danish art from the 19th century. Sculptures are the museum’s métier- they dot even the quiet corners of the museum- from the serious Roman busts to the Danish sculptures which extol physical perfection and line the bright rooms like alabaster runway models. The patterned tiles and marble columns add airs of formality.
Then there are the impressionist wings: van Gogh’s Landscape from Saint-Remy; Manet’s the Absinthe Drinker; Gaugin’s Tahitian Woman with Flower; Degas’ The Little-Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer. One appreciates that you can get up close to the works without a rush of onlookers; the museum's collections are carefully curated, so as to not to overwhelm, and are laid in a manner inviting you to stay for a while.
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Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
With rooms full of Egyptian mummies, Greek sculpture, Roman art, Renoirs, van Goghs and Gauguins, this eclectic art museum covers eight centuries and many different countries. Established in 1888 by Carl Jacobsen, whose father founded the Carlsberg brewery, the stunning collection is one of Copenhagen’s treasures. Don’t miss the charming café in the plant-filled Winter Garden at the heart of the building.