Despite the fact that it is small, Thyssen Bornemisza Museum is part of the golden art triangle, together with the Prado and the Reina Sofia museum. This museum, which used to be the most prominent painting collection in the world after the Royal Collection of England, was bought by the Spanish Government and started being exhibited with its artworks from 17th century.
The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum has certainly benefitted from its proximity to the Prado and the Reina Sofia but there are significant exhibits that demand attention of their own. They are housed in a neo-classical mansion dating from 1806. It was the home of Baron Thyssen Bornemisza who together with his son, Hans Heinrich gathered together an extremely valuable art collection, initially for their own enjoyment. The result is that it provides an excellent history of Western art from the early Flemish and Italian scene to 20th Century Pop Art. The mansion was bought by the State in 1993 and now forms an impressive trio of museums near the Old City. There have been several additions to the original collection with several international purchases now on display. Visitors who walk around this museum as well as the nearby Reina Sofia and Prado will leave Madrid with their minds full of art and a greater appreciation of the subject.
Visitors to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum will find a number of lovely exhibits from different periods of time. Among the medieval art that visitors will see is Van Eyck's "Diptych of the Annunciation". Others include Petrus Christus' "Our Lady of the Dry Tree" and Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII. Rubens' "The Toilet of Venus" and Rembrandt's Self-Portrait are great examples of their 17th Century work. The next phase of exhibits includes examples of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings among which you will see Degas' "Swaying Dancer", "Portrait of a Farmer" from Cezanne and some Van Goghs. Picasso was a prominent artist during the last century and two examples of his work are there to see, "Man with a Clarinet" and "Harlequin with a Mirror" which some think is a self-portrait. Miró, Dali, Bacon and Pollock, whose "Brown and Silver I" stands out are all represented. Edward Hopper's "Hotel Room" is another to look out for. Despite being a fairly small museum, there are almost a million visitors welcomed to see its exhibits every year. In some ways, its size is one of the beauties of this building because it is possible to get around in far less time than it takes to see the vast collection that is on display in the Prado. It has repaid the city’s faith in outbidding many others, including the Getty Foundation, to buy what Baron Thyssen Bornemisza and his son had started to collect over two centuries ago. The current value of the collection has been assessed at $1 billion, almost three times the amount that the City had to pay for it. There are regular exhibitions of work brought in over the years, examples including one of the works of Monet and Boudin. In the summer months, the Museum has long hours, reflecting the many hours of daylight and the number of visitors coming to Madrid. There is a museum shop that is open each day selling a number of items of interest to art lovers. The Museum opens 6 days a week and opens every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The day it closes is Monday but it is only partially; admission to the permanent collection is free between noon and 1600. Likewise, admission is free for those who buy a Madrid Card and to those who purchase the Paseo del Arte Card.