The exhibition From Buddha to the Baroque gives a rare glimpse into brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen’s unknown collections. And while Carlsberg beer put Denmark on the map, Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914) lived for collecting. Today he is best known for his ancient sculptures from the lands around the Mediterranean, and the French and Danish sculpture from the 19th century.
Over 100 works including old paintings, Baroque and Renaissance sculpture as well as East Asian Art are on view. One of the treasures is a gilded statue of Buddha, over two metres tall from Japan. Another is a c 800 year-old Syrian “hand grenade”.
For a time the collecting mania threatened to take over Jacobsen to such an extent that his wife began to worry that it would endanger their children’s inheritance. Although he would have liked to acquire works by the great masters such as Michelangelo and Raphael, on more than one occasion he bought works which were not what he believed them to be. These included a costly Rembrandt, which turned out not to be a Rembrandt at all.
After the brewing magnate’s death in 1914, most of the works were placed in other museums, such as the National Museum of Denmark, the National Gallery of Denmark and the Thorvaldsen Museum, who have lent them for the exhibition. The remainder of the works have been brought out of the museums own storerooms. Many of them have not been shown to the public for almost a hundred years.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Website