Monday, March 28, 2011

Highlights from the Glyptotek

It is a general rule that people do not tend to behave like tourists in the places in which they live. I often wonder why that is - a grass is greener thing? An actual indifference to our familiar surroundings? Are the museums of other cities and countries inherently more interesting than the ones available to us on a daily basis? Or do we just assume that once we live somewhere we'll eventually get around to seeing the sights only to get swept up and carried away by life?

I figure my time as a Copenhagen "newbie" is due to expire somewhere around this summer so I have decided to try to apply myself to seeing "the sights" before the jaded enui sets in and I forget how to be wide-eyed and awestruck. In this vein, I set out to see the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Below is some interesting information about this museum along with some of the highlights from my tour.

The Glyptotek owes its existance to Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. A prolific of antique art and sculpture, he donated his sizable collection to the Danish State and City of Copenhagen in 1888. Currently, the museum's collection includes over 10,000 works of art, including the most significant collection of Rodin's sculptures outside of France, an extensive number of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist as well as Danish Golden Age paintings, and a wide array of antique sculptures from around the Mediterranean.

The day of my visit, the museum featured a temporary exhibit of 70 studies in bronze by the French artist Edgar Degas. While most famous for his paintings, he often used wax sculpture to study movement as it related to some of his favorite motifs such as dancers, horses in motion and women in their morning routines. Below, I believe he may have been the first artist to capture a woman trying to get into her "skinny jeans".

The museum is also home to an astounding number of busts covering a wide period of time. Eerily realistic faces peer at you from across time, so lifelike that you imagine they might start up a conversation at any time. In a room of Roman statues I swear heard, "So a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum..." Below, a bust of the Roman emperor Caligula - who knew a sociopathic tyrant could be such a hottie?

While Caligula managed to save his face - at least in the Glyptotek - many of the other statues did not. This has resulted in a small "nasotek" or collection of lost noses.

My husband has been threatening to grow a handlebar mustache. I suppose it could always be worse. He could have seen this guy and gotten inspired...

I came across this bust among the Egyptian antiquities. I have heard conspiracy theories that the pyramids were built by Martians and never gave them much credence... until now?

Stay tuned for my next tourist excursion - a walk to the top of the Round Tower, once one of Copenhagen's tallest building and a working observatory.