Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900, National Gallery of Denmark

Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 charts Scandinavian art from the beginnings of Danish painting through the ‘Golden Age’ to the birth of Modernism. It displays over 400 works through 24 galleries. It features work by Abildgaard, Eckersberg, Købke, Ring, and Hammershøi.

Let yourself be traced back to the birth of Danish art and the breaking age of the 19th century in the real golden age and modern breakthrough.

In 400 paintings spread across 24 halls, the most significant collection of Danish art unfolds in a parade of Danish masters such as Nicolai Abildgaard, CW Eckersberg, Jens Juel, LA Ring, PS Krøyer, Christen Kjøke and Vilhelm Hammershøi.

150 years of Danish and Nordic art
We expand the major features of Danish and Nordic art over 150 years and offer historical overview, topical themes and focus on artists of special importance. At the same time, we shed light on some of the more overlooked chapters in Danish art history.


LARing, In the garden door. Artist’s Wife, 1897

CW Eckersberg, Mendel Levin Nathanson’s eldest daughters, Bella and Hanna, 1820.

Carl Gustaf Pilo: Frederik V in anointing suit, 1750

Caspar David Friedrich, After the Storm, 1817.

Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann, An Egyptian Potty Saleswoman at Giza, 1876-78.

Jens Juel, Dansebakken at Sorgenfri, 1800.

Nicolai Abildgaard (1743-1809), The Wounded Philosopher, 1775.

Christen BUYKE, Party of the north Kastelsbro. Study, Approx. 1837

Carl Bloch, From a Roman osteria, 1866.

Statens Museum for Kunst
As the National Gallery of Denmark, SMK, the State Museum of Art, contains a significant part of the nation’s visual and artistic heritage. There are many forms of expression that testify to the notions, observations, thoughts and experiences that people in the Western cultural circle have been dating back to the 1300s and up to our own time.

The history of the State Museum of Art dates back to the 16th century, when the Danish kings began collecting art in large quantities.

Among other Christian 4. and Frederik 5. the collection expands with hundreds of works of art. The art remains the private property of kings until 1849. This year democracy is introduced in Denmark – and the collection is transferred to the state and thus becomes the art collection of all Danes.

SMK has Denmark’s largest art collection with over 260,000 works. The collection is the museum’s DNA and the starting point for all the museum’s work. It dates back to the Danish kings’ private purchases of art and today is a living collection that we are constantly expanding with new works of art.

The museum’s collection spans 700 years of art and tells the story of how Denmark has evolved from political superpower, from monarchy and small nation state to a modern democracy in the age of globalization. At the same time, the collection talks about what it is like to be human during this development.

The history of the collection
The history of the State Museum of Art begins in the 16th century, when the Danish kings began collecting art in large quantities. Among other Christian 4. (who ruled 1588-1648) and Frederick 5. (who ruled 1746-1766) expanded the collection with hundreds of works of art.

The art was the private property of the kings until 1849. This year democracy was introduced in Denmark – and the collection was handed over to the state and thereby became the art collection of all Danes.

What the collection holds
The art collection contains over 260,000 Danish and foreign paintings, sculptures, graphics and drawings from the 1300s to the present day.

The oldest part of the collection is Western European visual art from ca. 1300 to 1800. The emphasis here is in Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French and German art and with works by, among others, Lucas Cranach, Andrea Mantegna, Tizian Vecellio and Rembrandt. It is Denmark’s most important collection of older art.

With the Golden Age (1800-1864) as the focal point, SMK’s art collection also contains a large part of Denmark’s national visual arts heritage. In addition, the museum has the world’s largest collection of Christen Kjøkes and Vilhelm Hammershøi’s works as well as a number of major works by both the Skagens painters and Danish symbolists.

In SMK’s modern collection of art from approx. 1900 to our time is the main emphasis on classical Danish and French modernism. In 1927, the museum was able to add a number of French art pearls, as engineer Johannes Rump donated his collection to the museum – including 25 works by Henri Matisse. SMK was thus given a unique collection of French art, which, like the museum’s large collection of Emil Nolde, has an international format.

The museum also houses a huge collection of paper, prints, photographs, etc. from the 15th century to the present. This part of the collection contains art in a wide span from Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt to Robert Smithson and Louise Bourgeois.

A living collection
The collection is the core of the museum, and it is with this in mind that the museum researches, publishes books, opens exhibitions, invites to events and much, much more. Every year, SMK buys new works of art that are added to the collection and which we commit to preserve and make available for posterity.