Once one of the largest private collections of art in the world, this museum will take you on a journey of creation from the 13th century right through to the 20th.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum's collection is founded upon the works of art amassed by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza who opened his private horde to the public in the 1920s. His son and daughter-in-law continued the legacy, building further upon the original bank of artpieces. Today, visitors to the museum can enjoy something in the region of 1,000 works of art from Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and beyond, from the medieval era to the modern day.
The collection includes Italian masterpieces such as the mesmerising Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Ghirlandaio and Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Duccio di Buoninsegna. If it’s the Italian masters that tickle your fancy, you’ll be pleased to hear that the walls are lined with works by Carpaccio, Titian and Caravaggio too. Flemish, Dutch and German artists are also well represented, with earlier artists such as Van Eyck and Dürer followed by the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck.
Skipping forward through the centuries, the Impressionists start to blur our perceptions and the works of Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh and others recall the importance and effect of this wave in 19th-century art. Cubism also makes an appearance through the works of Picasso and others. Works by Stanford Gifford and Edward Hopper add some New World colour to the collection.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza's personal collection is on display at the museum and tends to focus on Spanish artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. There are also some compositions by Toulouse-Lautrec, Pechstein and Pissarro.
It’s always worth keeping up to date with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website, because this is where you’ll find out about any special exhibitions that are taking place, as well as lecture series or educational programmes that might be going on.
The museum is not far from the Prado and you could combine the two if you're feeling especially art-hungry. The nearest metro stations are Puerta del Sol and Banco de España. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, 1 May and Christmas Day, but otherwise opens every day. A good tip is that there's free entry to the permanent collection on Monday afternoons.