Church of Our Lady

Church of Our Lady Exterior
Church of Our Lady exterior

I didn’t find the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen to be a stunning building, or even especially attractive. Then again, there’s no accounting for taste, particularly mine. The church is a not terribly adorned rectangle of a building with, in my opinion, an unlovely steeple. Inside, the architecture is also, in my view, not interesting or pretty.

Construction of the church started in 1817. It was consecrated in 1829. So we’re not talking about a terribly old church in European terms. Thus, it doesn’t have the history of, say, an Italian Renaissance church going for it either.

The church’s website describes it as a neo-classical building. OK. So that’s what neo-classical looks like. Unfortunately, I have the sort of mind that will forget the architectural style very quickly, which is fine because I’m not capable of generalizing it to a “neo-classical” category so I will be able to identify other neo-classical buildings based on having seen this one.

Church of Our Lady interior
Church of Our Lady interior

What’s special about this church are the sculptures within. They’re by Bertel Thorvaldsen, a Danish sculpture. Or, rather, a former Danish sculpture. He’s been dead since 1844.

Full-sized, plaster models that Thorvaldsen made before creating the final marble sculptures found in the church are installed in Thorvaldsens Museum, a museum that I was taken with. That museum is located elsewhere in Copenhagen.

Against both walls along the length of the church are rows of Thorvaldsen’s statues of the Apostles. At the front of the church is a large statue of Christ by Thorvaldsen. I can hardly wait to see if the search engines send me any religious traffic now that I’ve mentioned Apostles, Christ and church here.

Thorvaldsen's statue of Christ
Thorvaldsen’s statue of Christ

I’m not at all religious and my ethnic background is Jewish, so the sculptures held no spiritual value for me, but I did view them as great works of art. I’d never heard of Thorvaldsen before coming to Copenhagen, but after going to the museum dedicated to him and to the Church of Our Lady I now appreciate his work.

As an unscheduled bonus while I was in the church, someone started playing the church’s organ while I was there. (Note to self: I might want to reword the preceding sentence so people with poor reading skills don’t read it as “started playing with his organ.”)

I don’t think it was a scheduled performance. The organist started out playing just a bunch of standard musical scales, probably a test of the organ. He or she then broke into something that, likely unintentionally, sounded vaguely reminiscent of the tones from the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Thorvaldsen's statues of Apostles
Thorvaldsen’s statues of Apostles

Thorvaldsen's statues of Apostles
Thorvaldsen’s statues of Apostles


    1. Glad you liked it. Personally, I don’t do serene very well. And I don’t so much contemplate life as worry about it. But I thought the sculptures were kind of cool despite their religious theme.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.