I’ve visited musuems that are brilliantly constructed and curated, but none whose artworks are as perfectly choreographed — that is, perfectly laid out for display — as the Glyptoteket in Copenhagen. This museum, which specializes in ancient and modern sculpture, is housed in a stately nineteenth-century building organized around a high, planted atrium. (The museum’s collection of modern paintings is housed in a contemporary addition whose entrance is slipped so discretely inside that it’s difficult to find and navigate, all especially frustrating since that collection is so impressive.)
In the main building, each long, high gallery is painted a different strong, sober color, and lit from unobtrusive clerestories. The smaller sculptures are gathered together on tables, and the larger sculptures are grouped together in vignettes, and all seem absolutely correct in their disposition. Each sculpture is placed in just the right spot, facing just the right way, with just the right amount of free space around it. This makes the museum virtually hypnotic to move through. Most memorable is the installation of Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais at the end of one ground floor gallery. Raised a few steps and set off with steely blue walls, the piece is exquisitely framed. The figures, like most of Rodin’s, are scaled just a bit larger than life, so that they’re imposing without being monstrous. The museum serves them magnificently; their power shines through.