The Gothic Library
The exhibition ’From The Royal Attics’ will open on the piano nobile on 22 September. From The Royal Attics runs until 26 February 2017, and during this period the permanent exhibition will not be on show.
The Gothic Library was furnished for Dowager Queen Caroline Amalie in 1852, a few years after Christian VIII’s death. The architect was Christian V. Nielsen, whilst carpenter P.I. Wolff and woodcarver H.V. Brinkopff made the furniture. The library is considered to be the only fully conceived neo-Gothic room in Denmark, where the style never caught on as it did in neighbouring countries.
The well-read Dowager Queen received many of the 19th century’s prominent cultural personalities here, and several of them were honoured with a bust in the library. There is no bust of Hans Christian Andersen, however, who visited the Dowager Queen often and entertained her with readings and paper clippings. There are around 1600 books in the library, mainly 19th century literature.
Dowager Queen Caroline Amalie left the library to the state with the proviso that it was not to be divided up, and that the books and interior should remain together.
The Royal Representation Rooms
The exhibition ”From the Danish Royal Family’s Lofts and Cellars” opens on 22 September on the piano nobile. It is shown until 26 February 2017 and the permanent exhibition is not on display meanwhile. During the period 30 August to 22 September, the piano nobile is closed due to exhibition production. The piano nobile features some of Amalienborg’s most beautiful interiors and is used for official functions by HRH Princess Benedikte as well as TRH Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. Large parts of the piano nobile were created by the painter Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard (1743-1809), who mastered several arts. He was responsible for renovating the palace following the royal assumption of Amalienborg, as a result of the fire at Christiansborg, in 1794. The palace, which was originally known as Levetzau’s Palace after its noble owner, was taken over by Hereditary Prince Frederik (son of Frederik V and Queen Julianne Marie) and his wife, Hereditary Princess Sofie Frederikke. Their son Christian VIII later resided in the palace, which later became known as Christian VIII’s Palace. Abildgaard’s interiors are neoclassical in style and characterised by columns, pilasters, straight lines, and strict symmetry with a fairly bold choice of colours – both by the standards of the time and today. Parts of the interiors were recreated according to Abildgaard’s watercolour sketches of the decor during a thorough renovation of the palace in the 1980s.
These fig leaves were made in order to make the male figures in The Golden Tableau more respectable. They were presumably made shortly after the bronze figures were delivered in the mid-1820s, as other statues by Thorvaldsen were also given fig leaves around this time. According to the accompanying instructions the fig leaves should be attached to figures with sewing thread.
Jason with the Golden Fleece
The Golden Tableau comprises eleven miniatures of classical statues, of which ten are by Bertel Thorvaldsen, and the eleventh by his pupil, Pietro Tenerani. Jason with the Golden Fleece from 1803 was Thorvaldsen’s breakthrough work, which made it possible for him to establish himself as an artist in Rome after his studies. Like the other bronze copies, it was modelled by Pietro Galli at the beginning of the 1820s and cast in bronze by Wilhelm Hopfgarten. The figure expresses heroism and masculine strength, which is a little curious for a statue of Jason. In ancient mythology Jason was the son of a king who had been ousted, and in order to regain his father’s throne he had to embark on a perilous journey to capture a golden ram’s fleece, which he succeeded in doing with the help of Medea, the daughter of a king who was a sorceress. But because he was dependent upon the help of a woman Jason wasn’t seen as a particularly heroic figure, which he has clearly become in Thorvaldsen’s interpretation.