Visiting the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a great option to do in Madrid if you enjoy art. It’s part of the so-called art triangle, three museums very close to each other. The other 2 are the Prado and the Reina Sofía Museums.
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In my 5-day stay in Madrid, we decided to visit this museum after pondering our options. Prado is a very popular museum and we thought that it would be too crowded, plus we were a bit disappointed that it wasn’t allowed to take photos.
Reina Sofía museum houses mostly modern art, which I’m honestly not a big fan of. I do enjoy it but I prefer classic works. So… we chose to visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and we were happy because it indeed has a fantastic collection.
How to get to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
The Thyssen-bornemisza museum is easy to reach on foot from the center. you only have to walk in the direction of the Retiro Park. Before reaching this park and the Prado museum that is also nearby, you will see the signs to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.
If you aren’t near the center you can take the subway. The station you have to go to is Banco de España. You can also use the commuter train ‘Cercanías‘ getting off at the Atocha, Sol or Recoletos stations.
Prices and Schedules
The general admission price is currently 9 euros **. On Mondays, admission is free from 12 to 4 p.m. Reductions apply for groups and other cases.
Opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00 hrs. On Mondays it opens from 12:00 to 16:00 hrs. Ticket sales close at 18:30. On public holidays such as January 1, May 1 and December 25 the museum is closed.
You can buy you tickets in advance on this link.
** Note: This is a temporary price reduction. On our visit we paid 12 euros for the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions. For updated information and to buy your tickets check the Official Site of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
A bit of history
If you don’t kwow why this museum is called like that, then let me tell you a little about its history and origins.
This museum exists thanks to the private collection gathered in 2 generations by a powerful German family . The generation of Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. Hans Heinrich spent his last days in Spain with his wife, Carmen Cervera, where they opened the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in 1992. The most important part of the collection was acquired by the Spanish State in 1993.
Visiting the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza, our experience.
Temporary Exhibition Beckmann:Exile Figures
When we made our visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum there was a temporary exhibition of the German artist Max Beckmann. The temporary exhibitions obviously vary and so do the opening hours of these. The area where these artworks were displayed is somewhat reduced, therefore the access was in small groups.
Max Beckmann was a German painter born in Leipzig in 1884. He died in the United States, where he settled after the Second World War, in 1950
The exhibition was held in two parts. The first with paintings made in Germany before 1937. The main subjects of his works were sarcasm, violence and the result of the social situation in Germany after the war
The second part featured works made by the artist in exile after being persecuted by the Nazi regime. In this, the loneliness and an identity crisis of the artist can be felt. Some recurring themes throughout his work were carnivals and cabaret.
Although I did not know this artist, I liked his work. His style is very colorful and close to expressionism, although he didn’t consider himself to be part of this movement.
Unfortunately, photos were not allowed in this exhibition, but you can take a virtual tour at this link to the museum
The permanent collection includes works from the 13th century to the 80’s. They are distributed over 3 floors.
It’s suggested to start the tour on the third level (or level 2 if you consider the ground floor as level 0) with works by the old masters. The visit begins with the first Italian masters and continues with examples of Renaissance and Baroque art.
This was my favorite level when visiting the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum because I like Italian painting. There are also works from the Spanish, Dutch and German schools from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Some famous artists are Titian, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Canaletto, El Greco, Dürer, Rubens, and Rembrandt. In this level you have access to the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, with more than 200 works of the Baroness’s taste.
On the second floor (or level 1) you can see works from the Dutch school from the 17th century. There are French and English paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries too. Some examples of North American painting from the 19th century are also on display. In this level, they exhibit modern art with examples of impressionism, post-impressionism and German expressionism. Some prominent artists are Cezanne, Renoir, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh.
On the ground floor are 20th century creations . For example Cubism, abstract art, surrealism, Pop Art and post-war European figurative art. Some names that may sound familiar to you are Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Kandinsky and Pablo Picasso. This is my least favorite level, yet, it’s interesting and advisable to visit the entire Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.
To encourage you to visit the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, I will mention some famous and/or outstanding works from its collection.
One of my favorite painters is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. For my visit they had a room dedicated to his work Saint Catherine of Alexandria, made between the years 1598 and 1599.
Also Italian, the portrait of Giovanna degli Albizzi Tornuaboni by Domenico Ghirlandaio stands out. It was painted between 1489 and 1490
Another famous portrait is of the fickle King of England Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger. No doubt, you have seen this portrait in a biography of this famous monarch.
And by the way, portraits are common in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. another example is a self-portrait of the master Rembrandt painted around 1642 and 1643.
If you are Van Gogh fans you will be happy to know that there are several works by this artist in the museum. One of them is the Les Vessenots landscape in Auvers, made in the last weeks of his life in 1890.
The Swaying dancer or Green dancer, is a painting by Edgar Degas that I liked a lot because of the colors and the delicacy of the ensemble.
And the truth is that I’d never finish mentioning all the beautiful works that make the museum worth it. So here are a few more if you are not convinced yet.
Conclusion about visiting the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
It took us more or less 3 or 4 hours to do the complete tour in our visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. It can be more or less depending on your interest, we took our time, but if you are in a bit of a hurry you can speed up the pace.
I recommend going early to take advantage of the day, although it wasn’t crowded when we paid the visit. I suppose most of those interested in art or visiting museums were in the Prado museum. So I don’t consider that it’s necessary to reserve your entrances in advance.
Well, here is a parenthesis. Currently, at the time I write this article, there is a health emergency situation due to covid-19, so entry to the museum may be regulated. Consult the pertinent measures and the rules of the museum in this situation.
I hope you decide visiting the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and enjoy it as much as I did. If you liked this post or found it helpful, share it on your social media with your friends and remember to follow us for more travel information and photos.