Denmark is a great country to visit, particularly if you are a museum enthusiast.
Within the capital city of Copenhagen, scattered are numerous museums that provide various experiences for every visitor, as long as you are a fan of art – whether its ancient, modern or contemporary.
One of my greatest dream in life is to do art, whether its illustrations or painting, a talent that I was not blessed with and the very same reason why I love going to museums. More than to feel like a cultured individual, more than to admire the masterpieces, museums for me is a getaway, an escape to a world that is completely different from my background and line of work. Visiting a museum for me is similar to travelling, it is open for anyone who is willing to step into.
The only downside of visiting museums is that the usual admission fee is often expensive. So, for those planning to see most of Copenhagen museums, purchasing the Copenhagen Card will be a wise choice for almost all museums are free admission.
If there is one museum that is a must see in Copenhagen, I would recommend visiting the Thorvaldsens Museum.
The giant plaster and marble sculptures depicting Roman Gods and important figures in history, placed in a vast hallway, standing sublime against the mosaic floor, surrounded by colorful wall design to compliment the natural sunlight entering the building is truly world class in every sense, a one-of-a kind museum that can only be seen in Denmark.
The museum though one of the most visited is often quiet and never crowded, at certain time it seems that I have the sculptures to admire all by myself. There are no barrier or ropes between the visitor and the art, everyone is encouraged to look at the sculpture up close in order to fully grasp the magnificent creation of Throvaldsen.
For those who are more interested to see European Art particularly Danish and Nordic Art, a visit to Denmark largest museum, the National Gallery of Denmark or the SMK, Statens Museum for Kunst is a must.
The museum architecture built in accordance to the Renaissance revival style, houses an impressive amount of both local and international art from the past seven centuries. The exhibition is arranged according to the era and they often throw a good mix of contemporary work too.
Realizing that I never know or remember seeing any Danish or Nordic work, my main objective of visiting the SMK is to expand my knowledge on this subject and the museum collections dedicated to Danish and Nordic art exceeded my curiosity. I can add Danish painters Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann, Ejnar Nielsen and Michael Peter Ancher on the list of painters that I admire greatly.
Michael Peter Ancher’s The Lifeboat is Taken to the Dunes, for me, is the best work in I’ve seen in the museum. The classical composition exudes a deep sense of reality, capturing the raw emotions of the Skagen’s fishermen face as they embark on another day at the sea.
The museum that surprises me the most and somehow lead me to really appreciate the basic yet functional and the clean yet edgy Scandinavian approach is my visit to the Design Museum Denmark or the Designmuseum Danmark and seeing their permanent exhibit titled The Danish Chair, An International Affair.
The exhibit poses a very simple question and best explain by the quote displayed in the museum, from Ludvig Mies Van Der Rohe:
“The chair is a very difficult object. Everyone who has ever tried to make one knows that. There are endless possibilities and many problems – the chair has to be light, it has to be strong, it has to be comfortable. It is almost easier to build a skyscraper than a chair.”
Presented as an individual work of art in a cubicle with pullout catalogue for more detailed explanation, the collection of 100 different type chairs showcases the Danish method of solving one of the most basic design problems- to build a chair that is more than just a piece of furniture- but a chair that that is not only functional but artistic and personal too.
I left the Design museum very impressed with Danish flair for building things, an impressive level of ingenuity perhaps uniquely Scandinavian and with a bit similar take on the way Japanese approach design too.