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The Gustav III Antique Museum

The Gustav III Antique Museum is the oldest public art museum in Sweden and one of the oldest in Europe. It was opened in 1794 in one of the wings of the castle in Stockholm Castle, as a public monument of protection Gustav III left all branches of free art. It contains ancient sculptures, which he acquired during his trip to Italy in 1783-1784. It was inaugurated in 1958.

The Public Museum of separate collections of art of the king was established after the death of Gustav III in 1792. Two years later, in 1794, a public museum was opened in the building, which today is an antique museum of Gustav III. 

The collections, which when Gustav III bought them, consisted of more than 200 sculptures, grew and moved in 1866 to the newly built National Museum in Blasieholmen in Stockholm. On the ground floor and the rooms of the Wing Library in the northeast wing of Stockholm above the collections of ancient sculptures will be housed in Kongle. Museum ... In these rooms and in the rooms of the library above, in 1884-1906 was the Livrustall Chamber . In the 1950s a large gallery was restored, and in 1992 a smaller gallery was restored.

The exhibition halls consist of two stone galleries in the north-eastern wing of the castle with a beautiful view of Logarden. The sculptures are placed in the galleries exactly as they were originally exhibited. The Great Stone Gallery houses a magnificent play from the "Endymion" collection, a statue of Endymion that aroused great admiration in the 18th century.

The gallery has smaller to Lejonbacken Roman portrait busts displayed . The ancient sculptures were purchased in connection with the trip of Gustav III to Italy between October 1783 and July 1784 and were sent to Sweden. Thus, they came to form the basis of the oldest public art museum in Sweden, located in one of the wings from Stockholm Castle . The sculptures are now housed as they were exhibited in the 1790s.

The Gustav III Antique Museum


A visit to the Vatican Museum during the Italian voyage of Gustav III in 1783-1784. Helped inspire Gustav III to acquire ancient statues and subsequently create a museum for his antique collections. The Vatican Museums have an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and tapestries. The museum for collections was temporarily housed in the Lower Gallery in front of the balcony on the second floor of North Linnaeus, the current Bernadotte Gallery. Gustav III designed the permanent space for the museum in a large castle he designed at Haga, then the Sun Parish north of Stockholm, which is now the ruin of Haga Castle. Today, this castle is only a small part of the original plans that were postponed after the King's death in 1792. Duke Charles (later Charles XIII), Regent under Gustav IV Adolf, decided in 1792 that collections of ancient sculptures at Kongle. The museum and other collections will be housed on the ground floor under the library in the north-eastern wing of Stockholm.

The ground floor of the wing of the Library consists of an elongated hall or gallery with seven windows overlooking Logarden, the garden structure of the castle, and the entrance to it . Behind this gallery is a narrower gallery, parallel to the larger one, towards Logarden. It faces Norrström, but has smaller basement windows than the larger ones. There's also a smaller intersection with Skepsbron. In an artistic concept of the time, galleries were considered the best places for ancient collections. However, originally the premises were considered to be a greenhouse due to their location in the garden of the castle.

The Gustav III Antique Museum

Architects of the interior of the premises from 1793 to 1794. There was the first deputy and architect Carl Fredrik Sundvall in cooperation with the museum manager and official Carl Fredrik Fredenheim, who created the museum room in the neoclassical style. It is a style with an antique flavour that is suitable for old objects. The precisely carved door panels with handles in the small gallery are carved by Per Lung (1743-1819), son of ornamental sculptor Johan Lung (1717-1787), and are valued by art historian Niels H. Wollin. ...which concretized the strict neoclassical ideal."

However, all collections, including the class board collection, can hardly be placed in these three halls by the grand piano. That is why in 1793 Fredenheim succeeded in expanding the premises with the neighbouring rooms previously allocated to the Swedish Academy, which was to move. In this connection, the museum also received a large hall at Norra länga in the main castle (castle square), the so-called Tavelmuseum. This hall was originally the lower part of the northeast tower of the Castle Three Crowns and was part of the castle church which was moved to Södra längan after the castle fire in 1697 (for more information, see "History" in the article "Stockholm Castle").

The Gustav III Antique Museum

Later, in the 19th century, the Tavel museum was crowded, and collections were also scattered elsewhere at Stockholm Castle and in other castles as an unworthy collection of works of art that could not be housed in one place in spacious rooms. Therefore, in 1844 it was decided to build a new building for the National Museum, where the collections of the museum were transferred to Kungle in 1866. The Royal Library, which was then located in the library wing on the floor above two galleries, was allowed to take over the former museum premises. This was until the construction of the new library building in Humlegarden was completed in 1877. The Royal Lounge then moved the premises and remained there until 1906, when they moved to other cellars in the castle at Slotsbaken under the ground floor of Sodra lanana, which in turn is located below Slotskirkan on the two upper floors. There is still an animal husbandry room there.

After cattle, the Chamber of the Royal House used the premises, and this was until 1956, when it was decided to restore the ancient museum of Gustav III. The architect of the castle, Ivar Tengbom, was responsible for how it arose and the work was carried out between 1956 and 1958. The museum can be reopened.

The Gustav III Antique Museum

A large gallery could be restored as it looked in 1794, but in a smaller gallery only a traverse could be recreated. In the hallway, which is now divided into two rooms, collections of antique vases by Gustav III were exhibited in modern kiosks.

In the 18th century their concept of art and their admiration for ancient Greek art were based mainly on Roman works, which were more or less free copies of Greek originals in bronze or marble. Therefore, in addition to the new Gustav III Art Museum, the National Museum has created an exhibition section in a smaller part of the small gallery that exhibits parts of the National Museum's Greek art collections that were not of interest to the public in the 18th century.