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C.F. Hansen 1756 - 1845: Renderings 

September 07, 2012 /

The exhibition features a selection of exquisite renderings by Danish Master Architect C.F. Hansen (1756 - 1845); a prominent figure in Northern European Classicism.

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Portrait of C.F. Hansen from the Dome Hall in Charlottenborg Palace.

C.F. Hansen's life, from a working class background to becoming the first architect to place Denmark in the International history of architecture, reads like a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

He started his career as a bricklayers apprentice while tending to his architecture studies at the Royal Academy. After finishing his studies in 1779, only 23 years old, he worked as a clerk for his former Professor C. F. Harsdorff who, at that time, was working on Frederik the Fifth's Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

From 1782 to 1984 Hansen went on a foreign study trip that eventually brought him to Italy and, the Eternal City, Rome. The stimulating collision between Modern architecture and Antiquity in Rome, as well as Palladio's architecture around Vicenza, became crucial to C.F. Hansen's art. He was able to learn from Modern French and British architecture through literature.

From 1785 C.F. Hansen was Baumeister in Altona, Holsten, once Denmark's largest market town. While residing in Altona, next to the free city of Hamburg, the many commissions he received from wealthy clients made up for the modest public commissions he received from the Danish King. Between 1790 and 1810 he built some of Classicism's finest houses in Northern Europe along the Elbchausseen.

His reputation as a great architect prompted an invitation from Copenhagen to rebuilt Christiansborg Castle and Copenhagen's Town Hall and Court House that had burned in the two great fires at the end of the 18th Century.

In 1807, after the bombing of Copenhagen by the British, he was also commissioned to rebuilt the Cathedral of Copenhagen (Church of Our Lady) and the Metropolitan School.
He was Professor of Architecture at The Royal Academy and Chief Architects of the Country with a title of Senior Building Director and did not officially quit his job before his death at 89 in 1845.

C.F. Hansen became Danish Classicism's leading architect. His work while Baumeister in Holsten greatly influenced architecture in Northern Germany and his large commissions in Denmark placed him in a prominent position between English and French Louis Seize architecture and German Classicism's Great Master, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Hansen's Roman, Romantic Classicism is widely admired today.

Claus M. Smidt

Curator

The Library of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts

Charlottenborg Palace, on the King's Square in the center of Copenhagen, has opened up the South Wing as a permanent exhibition space for the extensive collection of architectural renderings owned by the Royal Danish Academy Library.

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Last updated: December 20, 2013

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