The National Gallery of Denmark

National Gallery of Denmark
National Gallery of Denmark

As you can see from the photograph to the right, there was construction going on in front of the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen when I went there. This prevented me from taking a great snapshot of it, or even a reasonable facsimile of a great shot, a reasonable facsimile being the closest I’ll ever get to greatness in any realm. And I rarely get terribly close. Ask any woman I’ve ever dated.

This happens to me a lot (construction at or in tourist attractions I visit; not women testifying to my lack of greatness, but that too). I also went to Stockholm on this trip, but I won’t be posting anything on the National Museum of Sweden because it was closed for renovations while I was there. The museum had a temporary installation in another building, but I didn’t bother going.

I read somewhere (I forget where) that I should plan to spend a whole day at the National Gallery of Denmark. As I feel the need to frequently say in this blog, I’m not much of art person. I’d sooner plan my own death than plan to spend a whole day in an art gallery—any art gallery.

National Gallery of Denmark Interior
National Gallery of Denmark Interior

I arrived at the National Gallery well after 1:00 p.m. and headed straight for the café for a smorgasbord lunch and a glass of wine. (In truth, I’m only guessing it was a smorgasbord lunch. The English menu, which was all I read, called it a buffet, but smorgasbord sounds more Scandinavian.)

With closing time at 5:00 p.m., after taking my time eating lunch, I knew that I wouldn’t feel in any way obliged to stay much more than two and a half hours beyond the time when my eyes glaze over and a dull numbness, and often somewhat of a headache, settles in on my brain. That usually occurs about 30 or 45 minutes into a visit to an art gallery; sometimes sooner.

Even if you are an art lover, I don’t know about spending all day there. It’s not that it’s a small gallery, far from it. However, it’s also not as large as, say, the Louvre in Paris, again, far from it. (If there are Louvres anywhere other than in Paris I don’t know about them and, therefore, I can’t comment on their relative sizes.)

Then again, some art scholars can spend hours—or a few years’ worth of Ph.D. thesis work—studying a single art piece. If that’s you, maybe you should keep a day or two free for your visit to the gallery. If I’m visiting the gallery with you, I’ll be in the café sipping wine. The café has a nice view of a park. I’ll see you when your done.

Here’s a measure of the size of the National Gallery of Denmark: I got lost in there only a couple of times. That is probably less than one-tenth of my record number of times getting lost in the Louvre in a single visit. Don’t read too much into the previous statements. I get lost in buildings rather easily.

National Gallery of Denmark Interior
National Gallery of Denmark Interior

(I didn’t mean to brag there—I can’t because true world travelers embarrass me by making me realize how few and parochial my journeys have been so far in my life. But, yes, I’ve been to the Louvre a few times. I know; I know. Considering my low art-gallery tolerance, that makes me a glutton for punishment, but there you have it. Mona cannot be denied.)

The majority of the collection in the National Gallery of Denmark is Danish Art from a variety of periods (the gallery’s web site says its art spans 700 years), but there’s also a section that contains other European art.

Dark Themes

A few of the art pieces in the gallery had rather dark themes. This included a sculpture of the grim reaper in a running stance carrying off a young child while a woman, presumably the mother, lies curled up in a tragic pose at the Grim Reaper’s feet; paintings of skeletal figures; and a painting of a skinned, headless animal (it’s probably a cow, but it’s hard to be certain of that with its features sliced off), split down the front and hanging on a hook in front of a young, live cow in the background.

I shouldn’t make too much of that. The dark-themed works were very much a minority of the collection. I suppose it says something about me that they stood out for me.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.