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Royal Collection of Graphic Art invites visitors to journey into the realms of detail
Joakim Skovgaard (1856 - 1933), Drawing after Cast. A Foot, 1870s. National Gallery of Denmark.

COPENHAGEN.- Small things steal the show in the National Gallery of Denmark’s new exhibition, which zooms in on the significance of details. Combining well-known works with rarely-seen curiosities this autumn’s exhibition at the Royal Collection of Graphic Art addresses the function and status of details in art from the 18th century to the 1930s.

What happens in those special moments when we look at a detail? What are we doing when we look at things up close, and what “unforeseen” reward are we looking for? - Daniel Arasse

Detective work
Details reinforce the overall whole. That is how we usually perceive them, especially when we view the image from a distance. However, as we move in closer details begin to command our attention, distract us, even impinge on us. For details do not simply subordinate themselves to the whole. They can cause shifts in the image, direct our gaze to follow new routes, or add entirely new meaning to the image.

This winter’s exhibition at the Royal Collection of Graphic Art invites visitors to journey into the realms of detail. A realm where nothing is as it seems. The exhibition urges spectators to take a very close look at the art, becoming detectives that track the clues inherent in the details; clues that may unlock the potential meaning of the image. In this way the exhibition also homes in on how we ourselves see the world – how we perceive and appreciate images – and on how details can also testify to the creative process itself.

Themes and close readings
Featuring more than 80 drawings, paintings, and graphic works from the National Gallery of Denmark and other Danish museums the exhibition calls attention to details in works by e.g. Vilhelm Hammershøi, Christen Købke, Caspar David Friedrich, Richard Mortensen, and Franciska Clausen. The exhibits are arranged in accordance with chronology and themes across six exhibition rooms. Here, close readings of selected examples demonstrate how details have been perceived and used by artists through the ages.

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