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Left: Petri Kirke. Vilh. Hammershøi 1906. Photo: National Gallery of Denmark. Right: St Peter’s Church today. Photo: Lise Hannibal
Left: Petri Kirke. Vilh. Hammershøi 1906. Photo: National Gallery of Denmark. Right: St Peter’s Church today. Photo: Lise Hannibal

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Copenhagen in the footsteps of Hammershøi

Painter Vilhelm Hammershøi lived his entire life in Copenhagen and frequently portrayed the city in his work.Although his pictures are unmistakably Copenhagen with regard to their subjects, light, and mood, they always add an unusual angle to the familiar.

Hammershøi liked to paint people from unusual angles and is well-known for his female figures with their back to the observer, and he chose to take a similarly alternative view of the capital’s architecture.

He painted Kronborg so that instead of seeing the familiar façade, the view looks down over the ridge of the roof and into the courtyard. In his painting of Amalienborg, the equestrian statue is moved out to the side of the canvas and the building is cropped like a photograph, while Christiansborg is viewed from the left rear of the building, with the Marble Bridge as the focal point.

Hammershøi went behind the façade, out to the side, and up above to paint perspectives that are usually overlooked, giving an edge to familiar and commonplace subjects. Follow this trail for a Hammershøi-eye view of old Copenhagen.

National Gallery of Denmark

Get into a Hammershøi frame of mind by kicking off with the Hammershøi collection at the National Gallery of Denmark.

National Gallery of Denmark

Sølvgade 48-50, Copenhagen

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St Peter’s Church

Hammershøi loved old buildings and the history, patina, and charm that goes with them. St Peter’s Church is the oldest church in central Copenhagen and Hammershøi has again chosen an unusual angle.

St Peter’s Church

Skt. Peder Stræde 2, Copenhagen

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Amalienborg Plads. Vil. Hammershøi 1896. Photo: National Gallery of Denmark

Amalienborg Palace Square

Find the angle for Hammershøi’s photograph-like painting of Christian IX’s rococo palace and the equestrian statue to experience genuine déjà vu.

Amalienborg Palace Square

Amalienborg Slotsplads 5, Copenhagen

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Strandgade 30

Hammershøi and his wife Ida lived in this building in Christianshavn from 1898 to 1909 and many of his most famous interiors were modeled on their rooms here. The apartment is now a private home, but you can go into the back yard and perhaps recognize it from the painting Sunbeams. Courtyard Interior at Strandgade, 1905.

Strandgade 30

Strandgade 30, Copenhagen

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Strandgade 25

The apartment in the Asiatisk Compagni building at Strandgade 25 was Hammershøi’s dream home and the rooms here were like those at Strandgade 30, one of his recurring subjects. He also painted the building from the outside – again from an unusual perspective.

Strandgade 25

Strandgade 25, Copenhagen

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Fra det gamle Christiansborg, sent efterår. Vilh. Hammershøi 1890-92. Foto: Statens Museum for Kunst

The Marble Bridge at Christiansborg

Instead of immortalizing the palace square and the façade, Hammershøi chose a side angle for his painting, with the Marble Bridge in the center.

The Marble Bridge

Ordrupgaard

This outstanding art museum in Charlottenlund has a number of works by Hammershøi in its Danish collection, including several interiors and some rarely seen landscapes.

Ordrupgaard

Vilvordevej 110, 2920 Charlottenlund, Copenhagen

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Fra Fortunen. Vilh. Hammershøi, 1901. Foto: Statens Museum for Kunst

Fortunen/Deer Park

One of Hammershøi’s landscapes is From Fortunen at the Deer Park, one of the most beautiful parks near Copenhagen. Although the picture dates from 1901, the atmosphere hasn’t changed a bit.

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