A branch of the Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark), the Royal Cast Collection can be considered as a precursor to the famous Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It is a massive collection of some of the oldest plaster casts and sculpture representing over 4000 years of history.
The collection was begun in 1896 and features over 2,000 casts from statues and reliefs in different venues around the world – from museums, temples to churches and public places. Visitors to the museum will learn about the evolution of the human form in art as the pieces are displayed in chronological order starting from works from antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The collection almost became relegated to obscurity when it was transferred outside of Copenhagen during the early 20th century as original art overshadowed the importance of making copies of sculptural masterpieces.
Fortunately there were those who saw the value in the collection and it was brought back to the city where it is now housed in a building in Toldbodgade. The collection covers three floors where the casts are displayed side by side. Most of the casts were made from late 19th century to early 20th century by plaster workshops in Europe. There are temple sculptures from ancient Egypt, statuaries from villas and public places in Rome and Pompeii, casts of the Venus de Milo, the Rosetta stone, Egyptian, Greek and Roman deities, philosophers and rulers. There are also a lot of copies of works by Michelangelo represented in the collection.