The history of the Assembly Hall
The Assembly Hall was originally the Great Hall and ballroom of Charlottenborg Castle. When Charlottenborg was transformed into an art academy in 1754, the hall became a lecture room. Renamed the Hall of Antiquities, it was used to display plaster casts of statues and busts from classical antiquity. However, the hall was not just used as a place for instructing art students: it was also a source of edification for the nobility and for the emerging middle class; an aesthetic and ethical platform. It was often referred to as “The Museum” and indeed acted as such.
In 1883 the 1,100 plaster sculptures in the hall were moved to the new exhibition building – the present-day Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Approximately half of those plaster casts were moved again around 1900: they became part of the Royal Cast Collection at the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst – SMK), which had just moved into its new building at the time.
The Assembly Hall interior
In 1827 the Assembly Hall was remodelled by the architect C.F. Hansen, which meant that its dramatic original Baroque interior gave way to a Classicist style.
Today, the interior includes copies of the Parthenon frieze. C.F. Hansen originally installed the frieze on the two shorter walls in the room, but after a restoration process in 1962 the frieze was installed on all four walls. The 1962 restoration also involved opening up the lower windows in the hall; these had presumably been walled up since 1753.