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National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

The National Gallery of Denmark, also known as "SMK", is literally the State Museum for Art, located in the center of Copenhagen.

The museum collects, registers, supports, researches and processes Danish and foreign art from the 14th century to the present day.

The museum's collections include almost 9000 paintings and sculptures, about 240,000 works of art on paper, as well as more than 2,600 plaster casts of ancient, medieval and Renaissance figures. Most of the old items come from the Danish Royal Collection. It is expected that by 2020 about 40,000 works of art from the collections will be available online. 

European Art 1300-1800

The exhibition of European art 1300-1800. It is an extensive collection of works of art for 500 years, including works by Mantegna, Cranach, Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt. The art is housed in thirteen halls and is the oldest collection of art in Denmark, with special emphasis on Danish, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, Spanish and German works. 

National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

Danish and Scandinavian Art 1750-1900

Represents Scandinavian art from the birth of Danish painting through the "golden age" to the birth of modernism. It displays more than 400 works in 24 galleries. It presents works by Abildgaard, Eckersberg, Köbke, Ring and Hammershöy.

French Art 1900-1930

SMK acquired its collection of contemporary French art in 1928, when it was presented by the late collector Johannes Rump. This collection presents some of the most famous works of the museum such as Matisse, Picasso, Daren and Marriage. The collection was first proposed by SMK Rump in 1923, but was rejected by its director Carl Madsen because he did not consider it of sufficient quality.

Danish and international art after 1900.

Located in the museum's annex in 1993, this collection from the 20th and 21st centuries focuses mainly on the most important examples of Danish contemporary art. The long corridor of paintings overlooking the Østre Anlæg Park is a chronological overview of works from this period, while smaller galleries are dedicated to specific artists or movements. 

National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen

Royal Graphic Collection

The Royal Collection of Graphics has more than 240,000 works: copper prints, drawings, etchings, watercolors, lithographs and other art forms on paper from the 15th century to the present day. The beginning of this collection dates back to the time of Christian II. In his diary from 1521, the German artist Albrecht Dürer writes that he gave the king "the best works of all my prints". 

In 1843, various works that were still in the King's private collection were presented to the general public. It was then moved to the State Museum of Art when the first building was completed in 1896, together with the Royal Paintings Collection and the Royal Cast Collection. 

Despite the fact that newspapers contain a large number of foreign works, Danish art is the main part of the collection. This collection is open to the public through the Press Room, access to which must be booked before arrival.

Royal Cast Collection 

Collection Royal Cast is located in a warehouse West India Warehouse, Toldbodgade 40, between the "Little Mermaid" and Nihavnom in Copenhagen. It consists of over 2000 naked plaster casts of statues and bas-reliefs from collections, museums, temples, churches and public places around the world, from antiquity to the Renaissance. Royal Cast collection is open only for special events. This art was first exhibited in 1895 to instruct visitors on the development of images of the human form over time in parallel with the growth of social, political and aesthetic awareness in the Western world.

At the beginning of the Second World War, ancient art was becoming more and more fashionable, associated with an archaic artistic tradition. In 1966, when abstract art became more popular, the Royal Cast Collection was moved to a barn outside Copenhagen for storage and was only revived in 1984 when it was moved to a warehouse in the West Indies.


Collections of the Danish National Gallery come from the Art Chamber (Danish: Kunstkammeret) of the Danish monarchs. When around 1750 the curator of the Art Chamber of Friedrich V was the German Gerhard Morel, he invited the King to create a separate collection of paintings. So that the collection is not inferior to the collections of other European royal houses and local counts, the king made large-scale purchases of Italian, Dutch and German paintings. The collection was especially well supplemented with Flemish and Dutch art. The most important purchase during the period of Morel as guardian was Christ as the Suffering Redeemer by Andrea Mantegna. The "Det Kongelige Billedgalleri" (Royal Art Gallery) was located in Christiansborg Palace until 1884, when the castle burned down. Only after the museum opened in 1896, the art has a new house.

Since then, many purchases have been made. During the XIX century works were almost entirely owned by Danish artists, and for this reason the museum has an unrivaled collection of paintings of the so-called Danish Golden Age. The fact that the country could create paintings of high artistic quality was something new and was the result of the founding of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1754.

More recently, the collection was influenced by generous donations and long-term loans. In 1928 a large collection of early French modernist paintings by Johann Rampa was donated to the museum. This was followed by the purchase of paintings and sculptures in French tradition.

National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen


The original museum building was designed by Wilhelm Dallerup and GEW Møller and was built in 1889-1896 in the style of historical Italian revival.

At the back of the museum is a large modern annex designed by architects Anna Maria Indrio and Mads Møller from Arkitektfirmaet CF Møller. The annex was built in 1998 to house an extensive collection of contemporary art. The two buildings are connected by a partition made of glass panels "Sculpture Streets" and a theater, which stretches along the length of the museum and overlooks the park of Ostre Anlong.  Here negotiations, concerts and installations take place.