The best of the best: the bar was set unusually high when brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen bought art. Initially his attention was directed at Danish and French sculpture which he acquired with a passion so wide-ranging and rapid in pace that the collection would soon form the nucleus of the Glyptotek.

Refinement, radicality and pathos: the sculpture of the 19th century is a celebration of the human story, in which love, death, fear and euphoria are brought to life in sculpture. At the same time it is the story of the stone-carver’s total mastery of the material. The exhibition is a demonstration of the capability of the art to transform robust materials such as raw, untreated marble to feather-light, delicate representations of figures, the fascinating lifelikeness of which borders on the superhuman.

A total of 125 main works have been arranged in the exhibition which traces the development of Danish and French sculpture from the 19th and 20th century. From French salon artists’ extremely refined, lifelike figural representations to Danish masters such as Sinding, Bissen and Jerichau, to the pioneer Auguste Rodin, by whom Glyptoeket owns one the world’s most important collections. As such the exhibition depicts a time of upheaval, in which tensions between tradition and radicality propel the art of sculpture in completely new directions: from the 19th century’s massive battle over style, expression and power to the 20th century sculpture by artists as diverse as Matisse and Robert Jacobsen.

The exhibition is designed so that the encounter with the art is as immediate as possible. Presentation as a strict chronological sequence has been superseded by an approach which leans more towards the sensual. We have exploited the three-dimensionality of the works, so that the visitor can walk all the way round them, see all the details and experience contexts between the works and crisscross the categories of the history of art. Come nearer, take a closer look and sense the sculpture!