Thyssen Bornemisza Museum
The Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza began the collection which he supervised
throughout 70 years with pieces of ancient art bought in the 1920s. In the 1960s, his son,
the current Baron, added to the collection with acquisitions of modern painting, making it
on incomparable survey of the history of western art.
Since 1992, the more than 800 paintings, sculptures, cavings, tapestries and gold and
silver objects have been displayed in Spain. In addition to being composed of priceless
objects (more than 50 paintings are considered masterpieces of world art), the collection
serves as an ideal complement to the classical paintings of the Prado Museum and the
modern paintings of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía National Museum. The strong points of
the collection are the weak points of the Spanish museums; Italian and Dutch Primitives,
German Renaissance, 17th century Dutch Painting, 19th century American painting,
Impressionism, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction and Pop
The museum has been installed in the Villahermosa Palace, a building of the end of the
18th century which belonged to the Dukes of Villahermosa. It was renovated at the
beginning of the 19th century by López Aguado, a neo-classical architect and disciple of
Villanueva. The renovation for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was carried out by Rafael
Moneo and obtained the VII Prize of Urbanism, Architecture and Public Works from Madrid
City Concil in 1992.
The works of the Primitive Italians, the beginning of the collection, are among the most
important: The Virgin and the Child, by the Master of the Magdalene (end of the
13th century), and Christi and the Samaritan, by Duccio di Buoninsegna.
Diptych of the Annunciation, by Jan van Eyck, the first of the great masters of the
Primitive Dutch painters, is the most important work from this group of artists contained
in the collection. The highest-quality work of the late Gothic period is the Assumption
of the Virgin, by Johann Koerbecke, a painting which heralds the passage from the
Middle Ages to the Renaissance, period represented in Ressucitated Christ, by
Another interesting aspect of the collection are the portraits, which include exceptional
works such as Giovanna Tornabuoni, by Ghirlandajo.
The German Renaissance and the excellent collection of scenes from everyday life,
interiors and landscapes by Dutch painters of the 17th century (Family in front of
landscape, by Hals for example) are the other great attactictions of the museum. Saint
Catherine of Alexandria, work of the young Caravaggio, belongs to the early Baroque
period, while the sculpture An Sebastián, by Bernini, shows the exuberance typical
of the Baroque style. The Classicist movement of France, the Spanish Siglo de Oro and 17th
century Flemish painting (such as Venus and Cupid) are also represented by some
In addition to the rococo style and the neo-classical counter reaction, the collection
contains sections virtually unknown in Europe such as 19th century American painting.
In European painting, Goya shows better than any other artist the progression of styles
from the period of the Enlightenment to the 20th century, as shown by the Portrait of
Asensio Julia and his "black painting" Tio Paquete.
The Floodgate, by Constable, stands out among the Romantic paintings. This work
constitutes a tribute to nature and an introduction to the Realism and Impressionist
The great Impressionist painters (Manet, Monet and Renoir among others) are also
represented in the collection. The paintings of Gauguin, Degas, Van Gogh and Toulouse
Lautrec attest to the importance of the post-impressionist movement in art history. One of
them, Cázanne, the artist who most influenced 20th century artists, laid the foundation
for the Cubism of Braque and Picasso.
Expressionism is one of the strong paints of the Tyssen-Bornemisza collection. The work of
Schmidt-Rottluff, Heckel and, most importantly, Kirchner, is interesting to see. The works
of the avant-garde movements show strong similarities, due to stylistic affinities more
than chronological order. The Man with a Clarinet, by Picasso, is a landmark of the
Cubist movement. New York City, New York, by Mondrian, shows the reduction of
artistic language to its physical elements. In Russian Constructivism, the work must
represent nothing. All these styles allow the viewer to follow the evolution of modern
art. The collection contains the Harlequin with Mirror, by Picasso in his
classicist period, Catalan Peasant with Guitar, by the surrealist, Miró and Painting
with Three Spots by the abstract artist, Kandinsky.
After World War II, the center of modern art moved to New York. Two of the most
representative paintings of American post-war painting are Green on Purple, by
Rothko, and Brown and Silver I, by Pollock.
Even though the dominant trend of the 60s was Pop Art, other trends co-existed.
Surrealism is based on spontaneous associations of images, as shown by the excellent work
of Dalí, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second after
Waking. Anda Magritte, founder of Belgium Surrealism, bases his paintings on
Figurative painting is another one of the trends of the 20th century. The most important
Realist painter is Hopper, whose works Hotel Room and Girl at Sewing Machine as
well as Martha Mckeen by Wellfleet are contained in the collection.
Of the post WWII figurative group, the Museum exhibits several works of Lucian Freudand The
Portrait of George Dyer in a Mirror by Francis Bacon.
Pop Art ends the scope of the collection, It takes images from advertising, comics and
mass media. Some of the most representative works are Express, by Rauschenberg and Woman
in the Bath by Lichtenstein.
Thyssen-Bornemisz Museum: Useful Information
Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid
Telephone: (+34) 91 420 39 44 (Offices) & (+34) 91 369 01 51 (information)
Fax: (+34) 91 420 27 80
OPEN: Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 7pm
The ticket office closes at 6.30 p.m.
The Museum closes all day on January 1, May 1 and December 25
The galleries will be vacated a few minutes before closing time.
Tickets & Entry
A) Permanent Collection: General 6 ?, Reduced 4 ?
B) Temporary Exhibition: General 6 ?, Reduced 4 ?
A+B) Combined Ticket: General 10 ?, Reduced 6 ?
REDUCED TICKET: Reduced-price ticket for Senior citizens and students with identification.
FREE ADMISSION: Accompanied children under 12. Entrance tickets may be booked in advance at the ticket office.
Group visits are on Tuesdays to Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. and on Sundays from 3.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. Reservations must be made beforehand through the Information telephone.
There is a maximum of 25 people per group for the Permanent Collection and of 20 people for the Temporary Exhibitions. Tickets may be booked in advance at the ticket office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photography and Videorecording: Photography and video recording are not permitted inside the building.
Metro: the nearest underground station is Banco de España
Buses: Lines 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15, 20, 27, 34, 37, 45, 51, 52, 53, 74, 146 y 150
By rail: Atocha and Recoletos stations
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