Thyssen Bornemisza Museum
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum or simply the Thyssen, is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum on one of city’s main boulevards. It is known as part of the “Golden Triangle of Art”, which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofia national galleries. The Thyssen-Bornemisza fills the historical gaps in its counterparts’ collections: in the Prado’s case this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia it concerns Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American paintings from the 20th century.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation is a public foundation that was created in 1988. It is responsible for the management of the museum, the conservation of its works, carrying out research, organising public exhibitions and promoting the artworks that were acquired by the Spanish State in 1993. Since 2004 it has been responsible for the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection that is on long-term loan to the Spanish State and for the expansion of the Villahermosa Palace. Since the museum opened its doors to the public in 1992, it has offered an increasingly varied number of temporary exhibitions, educational events and cultural and commercial activities.
Although the main driving forces behind the collection were Baron Heinrich and his son Baron Hans Heinrich, it is important to mention August Thyssen (1842-1926). August was a hugely successful industrialist who commissioned the sculptor Auguste Rodin in 1910 to create a series of seven marble figures to start a collection of sculptures. Sadly, the outbreak of World War I interrupted this project. August died in 1926 and the set of Rodin sculptures passed to a branch of the family that had settled in Germany. Only in 1956 these sculptures were bought back by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and added to his collection. Today, four of them are part of the Carmen Thyssen Collection. Standing on either side of El Paraíso by Tintoretto in the museum’s entrance hall, they welcome visitors every day.
From the later 16th century and baroque there are superb paintings, such as Titian’s ‘Saint Jerome in the Wilderness’, Mattia Preti’s unsettling ‘A Concert’ and Caravaggio’s magnificent ‘Saint Catherine of Alexandria’. There are also representative works by El Greco, Rubens, Guercino, Tintoretto and Jusepe Ribera, and a Bernini marble, ‘Saint Sebastian’.
The first floor begins with several rooms of 17th-century Dutch paintings – arguably the least interesting section of the Thyssen – followed by the most varied part of the museum, with such pieces as a sombre ‘Easter Morning’ by Caspar David Friedrich; a Goya portrait of his friend Asensio Juliá; a great selection of Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Degas dancers, two beautiful and little-known van Goghs); and even Constable’s 1824 ‘The Lock’ – although not jumbled together, but carefully ordered and arranged.
Paseo del Prado, 8
+34 917 911 370
Tue – Sun 10am-7pm
Thyssen Bornemisza Museum Madrid | paintings in chronological order
1651 – 1675