• 18-FEB-2015

  • SOURCE: Thyssen Museum

The Thyssen Museum Permanent Collection: a walk through 700 years of history of painting (B-Roll available)

Madrid; a city known for its historic architecture, luminous skies, warm hospitality and prestigious art collections. The internationally renowned Prado Museum welcome's almost two and a half million visitors every year. It's right on Plaza de Neptuno, in the heart of the city. But if we cross the Paseo de Prado to the other side of the square, we're just a short 500-meter walk to a very different but complementary art gallery. Its Artistic Director welcomes us to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

As Guillermo Solana explains, the public gallery houses what was in its day the world's biggest private art collection, created by successive generations of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family. The collection began around 1920 by the first Baron, Hienrich. In less than three decades, he brought together over 500 works, mostly by the Old Masters: Van Eyck, Van der Wayden, Memling, Dürer and Holbein, among others. When the Baron died in 1947, the collection was split between his four children.

But the youngest, and inheritor of the family title, Hans-Heinrich put all his efforts and most of his assets into buying back the works from his siblings to reunite the collection. And he continued adding new works from the nineteenth and twentieth century: expressionism, impressionism, pop-art and hyperrealism. By the 1980s, with more than a thousand paintings, the Thyssen Bornemisza collection had become the world's largest and best private collection of paintings. And the collection was further augmented by works owned by the Spaniard Carmen Cervera after she married the Baron in 1985.

Hans-Heinrich resolved never to let the collection be broken up again. After receiving offers from various countries, he agreed to sell the collection to the Spanish Government in 1993. The fact that it was to be housed in this Villahermosa Palace, so close to the Prado, was instrumental in the family's decision to install the collection in Madrid.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza family have always made every effort to open the collection to the public; bringing visitors in direct and personal contact with over 700 years of the history of painting. Indeed, very few of the world's galleries offer such a complete artistic chronology.And that's not all according, the Museum's artistic director.
Guillermo Solana points out that the museum also offers an impressive programme of temporary exhibitions of interest to any art-loving international traveller.

The temporary shows are part of an active policy of reciprocal loans that regularly bring to Madrid exhibitions of the major artists and art movements.

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