Located in Madrid, Spain within the Golden Triangle of Art complex, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is intended as a complement to the Museo del Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, housing significant collections of works by Italian Primitives, Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American artists of the 20th century.
The museum collections that are now displayed at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum were originally housed within the private collection of Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon, who began collecting pieces being sold by American millionaires suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. Throughout the early 20th century, the Baron acquired notable master paintings, such as Carpaccio's Knight and Ghirlandaio's Portrait of Giovanna. Collections were expanded by the Baron’s son, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who acquired works both from relatives’ collections and international sellers. Collections were initially housed within the family’s Lugano estate, but following the Baron’s 1985 marriage to Carmen Tita Cervera, the decision was made to relocate the collection to a public museum facility. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was opened to the public in 1992 in a building along Madrid’s Paseo del Prado, near the Museo del Prado. At its opening, the museum showcased 715 works of art by international artists. 775 additional works were added to the collection the following year by the Spanish Government, and 429 works were loaned to the museum by Cervera in 1999.
Permanent Collections and Exhibits
Today, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is located within Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art, which also showcases the Museo del Prado and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The museum received more than 850,000 visitors in 2017, making it one of the most-attended art museums within the city of Madrid. Museum collections are intended as a complement to the displayed works of the Prado and the Reina Sofía, with many collections filling in historical gaps in its counterparts’ collections.
The museum’s collections focus on the works of Italian Primitives, Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American artists of the 20th century, with additional works representing the English, Dutch, and German schools of painting. Notable early European paintings include a major collection of 14th and 15th-century Italian paintings by artists such as Bernardo Daddi, Duccio, Luca di Tommè, and Paolo Uccello, as well as works by early Flemish and Dutch painters such as Petrus Christus, Gerard David, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Rogier van der Weyden. Works by Renaissance and Baroque painters include pieces by Caravaggio, Guercino, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, and Titian, as well as works by Fra Bartolomeo, Giovanni Bellini, Peter Paul Rubens, Francesco Guardi, and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works include pieces by famed artists Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Cézanne. German Expressionists on display include Emil Nolde, August Macke, Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Dix, and George Grosz. 20th-century Cubist works by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris are displayed, along with notable pieces by Edvard Munch, Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Piet Mondrian, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, and René Magritte. North American collections from the 18th and 19th centuries also feature works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and John Singleton Copley. Rotating special exhibitions are also featured, highlighting a variety of artists and topics related to international historic and contemporary art movements.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard museum admission, a variety of special thematic guided tours of the museum are offered to give visitors unique collection experiences. Themed tours highlight cultural topics and trends within paintings such as the inventions, performing arts, food, wine, fashion, and jewelry of the cultures the works represent. Several tours serve as mirrors to the cities works represent, including an Invisible Cities tour and a Day In New York tour, while other tours focus on religious aspects within works, including a Luther and the Reformation tour. Nature topics include tours focused on floral and water imagery. Other tours also focus on sustainability and climate change, gender identity and sexual orientation, and pieces connected to famous cultural works such as Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote.
A wide variety of educational programming is offered at the museum, including curriculum-incorporated field trip tours for school groups. The museum’s EducaThyssen learning program offers a variety of lab sessions and workshop programming for children, families, and primary and university students, designed by multidisciplinary teams and incorporating educational resources such as digital apps and audio guides. On weekends, the FamilyThyssen program strives to introduce children ages 7-12 and their families to the world of fine art, sending participants on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. A variety of annual public special events are offered at the museum, including theatrical performances, film screenings, lectures, and symposiums.
Paseo del Prado, 8, 28014 Madrid, Spain, Phone: +34-9-17-91-13-70