History of the Thyssen Museum in Madrid
The collections at the Thyssen Museum give us a taste of the likings and the preferences of their two principal owners, the Barons Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875-1947) and Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002).
The Baron married Carmen Cervera, and his interests became closer to Spain. This led to conversations with the Spanish authorities aimed at the creation of an important art museum. The acquisition of the neoclassical Palace of Villahermosa followed. Renovations started and the Thyssen Bornemizsa museum was inaugurated in 1992 (the same year Spain held the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona)
Educated in the Central European artistic tradition, both paid special attention to the genre of portraiture and landscape. This is evident in the paintings of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid which are different from the current religious and historical paintings in other Spanish museums. Since 2004, the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection completes the museum´s collection. It has over two hundred paintings, thus completing the styles and genres already present in the Permanent Collection.
In addition to preserving the collection of the Barons, the museum designed an area for education purposes, to learn the values of art in an entertaining way called “Educate Thyssen”, a cafe with a modern design and an art shop where you can find a great variety of collectibles motif inspired by the works of the collections. Notably, the museum not only preserves the artwork but also believes in spreading the culture not only in Spain but around the world.
The permanent collection at the Thyssen Boernemizsa is displayed chronologically. It consists of 48 rooms distributed over three floors. It makes all sense to follow the recommended route by the museum. This will allow you to follow the historical evolution of painting through the centuries. The collection spans from the late 13th century to the 1980s.
We recommend you start on the second floor. This part of the museum is dedicated to ancient painting and first illustrates the works of Italian primitives. As you progress through the rooms, the Venetian painting of the 18th century follows. The recommended itinerary includes two monographic rooms, portraits from the Renaissance, and cities from the 18th century. On this first area, you will enjoy paintings from El Greco, Tiziano or Tintoretto.
On the first floor, the visitor will find masterpieces from the Dutch school. The hitherto common themes give way to everyday life and new interests. From room 29 we start to find Modern Painting. There are two initial galleries dedicated to 19th century North American painting.
It is at this point that the Thyssen proposes us a wonderful journey through Impressionism, post-Impressionism, and German Expressionism. This is for most visitors the main attraction of the museum: the variety and quality of the masterpieces shown is astonishing. Get ready to enjoy some of the best works from Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin or Toulouse Lautrec.
On the ground floor the collection moves onto the 20th century, with outstanding works of cubism, abstraction, surrealism, pop art or post-war European figuration. You will enjoy fantastic works from Picasso, Dali, Wassily Kandinsky or Roy Lichtenstein amongst many others.