This —once private— fabulous collection of paintings is housed in the Palacio de Villahermosa (19th century) which was completely remodelled by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo specifically to house its nearly 800 paintings. The collection was begun in 1920 by the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza's father, who upon his death distributed the work among his various heirs. Keen to reunite his father's collection, the last Baron (Hans Heinrich, 1921-2002) bought together most of the works from his relatives and the proceeded to acquire large numbers of new works to produce what is one of the world's finest private art collections. The museum was opened in 1992 after an agreement was reached between the Baron and the Spanish government, originally as a loan. A year later the collection was bought outright.
This collection complements both the Prado and the Reina Sofia by filling in gaps present in both. In the former's case this includes fine examples of Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools. The modern collection includes impressionist, expressionist as well as European and American paintings from the latter half of the 20th century. Distributed over three floors, the museum is a virtual course in western art history, with examples from the 13th to the 20th century, often through many lesser known artists. While extensive, this collection is not as vast as that of the Prado, and because of this it is in many ways more manageable museum. It has been carefully laid out chronologically, thematically and stylistically with the oldest works on the top (second) floor.
Domenico Ghirlandaio (Domenico di
Tommaso Bigordi) Retrato de Giovana
We recommend you be sure not to miss the following paintings and rooms:
The Dutch primitives (Van der Heyden, Van Dyck,...).
Portraits from the 15th century (Holbein, Ghirlandaio, Juan de Flandes, ...)
Italian 16th century (Rafael, Bronzino, Carpaccio,...)
German 16th century (Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Grien,...)
San Jerónimo by Tiziano
Paradise by Tintoretto
St Catalina by Caravaggio
Pity by Ribera
The Impressionists halls (all are represented)
The Expressionist rooms.
Harlequin with mirror by Picasso
Catalan Peasant with guitar by Miró
Brown and Silver by Pollock
Green on Brown by Rothko