Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, exhibitions and photos

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid is one of the world’s richest collections of paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and other visual art. Founded as a private home gallery, it soon overshadowed most European exhibition venues. It houses authentic masterpieces from several eras, including classicism, the baroque, and key trends of the 20th century. No sightseeing tour of the Spanish capital is complete without a tour of the exhibition.

Today the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is part of the so-called “golden triangle of Madrid”, where the key attractions of the city are concentrated. Within walking distance are the Prado Museum and the Queen Sofia Center for Fine Arts. According to a conservative estimate, more than 984,000 tickets are sold here annually, which puts the modest-looking building on a par with the most visited art galleries on the planet.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum


For the year 2022 the price of admission is:

  • Adults – 13 € ;
  • Students, large families and seniors over 65 years old – 9 €;
  • Participants of official tour groups of 6 people and more – 9 €;
  • Photographing and videotaping without flash and tripod – free of charge.

All tickets are valid during the day, the museum hall can be left for a break in the cafe and then return through the main entrance, showing the same ticket.

Free admission to any exhibit is available:

  • Schoolteachers and teachers at institutions of higher learning located within the European Union;
  • Temporarily unemployed people with an EU passport or an open residence permit;
  • Children and adolescents up to the age of 18;
  • People with any type of disability, regardless of citizenship.

Every Monday from 12:00 to 16:00 – free admission to the main exhibition for all visitors who have booked a visit through the MasterCard system. To do this, log on to the partner program site and download a voucher with a unique code. In addition to the free ticket it will give a 5% discount on souvenirs and a compliment from the museum cafe.

Working hours of the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum does not depend on the day of the week – the doors to all the exhibition halls are open from 10:00 to 19:00, the ticket office closes 30 minutes earlier. The schedule for holidays and Christmas vacations is announced about 2 weeks before the date, most often on weekends.

In addition to the website and official ticket offices, you can book your ticket through the online services Getyourguide and Tiqets:

The Story

A private collection of paintings began to form in the late 1920s, when a major German industrialist, Heinrich Thyssen, began buying up art from former migrants. Almost all of them were in the United States, and the period of “great depression” forced many to sell exported from Europe valuables, among which were many pictures of the Dutch, Spanish and Italian schools of painting. They formed the basis of the future fund.

The first proposals to exhibit pictorial masterpieces appeared in the 1930s, they even managed to organize an exhibition in the New Pinakothek in Munich, but the Nazis who came to power dramatically changed the course of the attitude to art, and the vernissage was closed. The Thyssen family did not accept Hitler’s dictatorship, insulated themselves from contact with the public, and eventually fled the country, settling in neutral Switzerland. In the meantime, the collection grew and was actively expanded.

By 1947, it had amassed 527 canvases, but the head of the house died unexpectedly – according to his will, his numerous relatives divided the pictures scattered over several estates. The son of the baron – Hans Tissen-Bornemisa set a goal to redeem the family’s father’s heritage and turn it into a public gallery. The task was not an easy one: not everyone agreed even for a handsome sum of money, and it took almost 30 years to legitimize the transfer of the collection.

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Bust of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza

The canvases and sculptures were exported from several family estates in Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands. Thyssen senior was not limited to “fine art” and collected everything of value – tapestries, antique French furniture, porcelain and jewelry. Half of the accumulated everything remained in private hands, but for each disputed picture for months there were real legal battles involving the best lawyers in Europe and the world.

When it came time to choose the house for the future of the museum, voiced by experts from the collection was officially considered the largest on the planet, a private collection of paintings. The Villa Hermosa mansion in Madrid, on the corner of Prado Boulevard and St. Jerome’s Avenue, was a suitable building that could accommodate such treasures. The room was leased for 10 years, with the proviso that part of the exposition would be in the Pedralbes Convent in Barcelona.

The official opening of the museum took place in 1992, the 71-year-old Hans Thyssen was personally present at the celebrations, and then announced that 775 items from the collection will become the national heritage of Spain. After his death his wife Carmen Thyssen continued the work, and now the museum in Madrid continues to attract a huge number of ordinary tourists and sophisticated art historians. Every exhibition here becomes a loud event in the cultural life of Europe.

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Today the permanent exhibition is comprised of 16 halls, separated chronologically and regionally. Guests are greeted in the spacious foyer by Auguste Rodin and his iconic sculptures, including The Birth of Venus. The sculpture was created by the master at the special request of August Thyssen, the grandfather of the museum’s founder. It was planned that the white marble will reflect the Greek pantheon, but Rodin managed to finish only four images, and they are all here.

Further on in the galleries begins a huge layer of European painting, which opens with the 13th-century icon of Our Lady with the Child Jesus. Great attention is paid to the Italian masters of the late Middle Ages. Among the recognized masterpieces are authentic works by Duccio on Christian motifs. He is thought to have had a direct influence on the formation of the Renaissance and the stylistics of Leonardo da Vinci’s future works. Next to him are van Eyck’s monochrome grisaille paintings, a rarity even in Europe.

The pride of the collection is the richest collection of paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries, including the so-called “American Old School” of the Romantic era. Works by El Greco, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and masters of the New World merge into a harmony of emotion, iconic images and recognizable style. The second most important section is the Impressionists, represented by Monet and Degas, whose paintings, outside private collections and expensive temporary exhibitions, are still considered a great success.

The twentieth century is the surrealism of Dali, several authentic paintings by Picasso from the cubist period, and American pop art, including Roy Lichtenstein’s sensational “Woman in the Bathtub. The latter painting, which shifted the classical school of painting in the direction of comic strips and flamboyant advertising posters, is called almost the most scandalous work of our time, especially impressive is the sharp transition of styles after the traditional halls with landscapes and sketches of European pastoralism.

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There are also examples of the Russian avant-garde among the permanent collection. Chagall, Kandinsky, Annenkov and Malevich, though not taking up much space compared to the rest of the collection, are invariably popular with the public. Sometimes for the sake of a single pencil sketch full exhibitions are organized, with presentations, guests of honor from the Russian side and coverage in the Spanish press. Each artist’s contribution is emphatically welcomed, just like any Russian art.

In total, the number of originals in the collection and the vaults has exceeded a thousand and a half, a figure the museum representatives insist on. Temporary exhibitions are held monthly, they are devoted to a specific theme in painting or contemporary installation technologies. In a specially prepared hall on the ground floor there are regularly projectors with animation and other non-standard visual platforms, designed to attract young people.

Interesting Facts

The museum’s collection was not simply donated to the state – the Royal Court of Spain bought it from the heiress of the Thyssen family for 232 million pounds sterling. A fabulous amount at first glance was “symbolic” – experts estimate the total value of the exhibits at least 20 times higher. The deal proved that the Baroness is not interested in profiteering – she only sold an expensive piece of architecture in the center of Madrid and a scrap of adjacent territory.

The name of the palace Villa Hermosa – Beautiful Villa – is a play on words, referring to the previous owners of several hectares of land in the Prado – Castilian family Villahermosa. The dynasty has been a patron of the arts for generations – favorites included the legendary Raphael Santi and other Renaissance artists. Extensive connections allowed the Dukes to transform the face of Madrid, in particular thanks to their efforts the Royal Botanical Gardens appeared.

With other owners of the future art gallery there was a famous historical curiosity. So, according to the XIV century deed of gift, to build the doors on the side of St. Jerome Avenue could only Medinaseli family descendants, but their family line in the male line died out long ago. Nevertheless, the Spaniards’ love for tradition did not allow them to defy the rule, so the central doors of the museum are located on Boulevard Prado, behind a cozy courtyard and an alley with a rose garden.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Already at the time of its appearance, Villa Hermosa attracted the great attention of European creative bohemia. For the entire 19th century, a literary salon gathered in the living rooms, where leading novelists and poets read out manuscripts of their works before publication. The peak of the “festival” life of the mansion is considered to be the composer Franz Liszt’s two piano concertos given by the young maestro in 1844. According to the recollections of contemporaries, more than a thousand guests came to hear his music.

Baroness Carmen Thyssen, despite her advanced age, continues to actively support the legacy of her husband. In 2011, her Museum of Art in Málaga was opened, and five years later – the picture gallery in the Principality of Andorra. Absolutely all exhibits are deposited free of charge, and each site is not just an exhibition hall, but a full-fledged educational center, where children are taught to draw, and for adults they hold lectures and seminars.

Ironically, Baron Thyssen Senior was not as generous as his son and did not even plan for anyone not related to the family to see his huge collection of paintings. For decades, the paintings were kept in a secluded mansion on the banks of Lake Lugano, Switzerland, and only people close to the owners had access to them. This was used by the relatives, who pelted the Thyssen family with lawsuits until 2003, when the legality of the museum was finally established.

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How to get to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

The attraction is located in the historic center of Madrid, the nearest metro station is Banco de España on the red line. Exit the hall to the even-numbered side of Alcalá Avenue, go to the intersection with Boulevard Prado (landmark – fountain with the figure of a child), and turn right – the museum will be about 300 meters to the right. Despite not the most comfortable traffic – there are signs everywhere, it is difficult to get lost.

Closer – by land transport from the stop “Neptuno”, through which goes half of the city bus routes. The building of the museum is almost opposite, you need only to carefully cross the roadway at the traffic lights.

The situation with cabs in Madrid is not easy. The city has an official taxi fleet with white cars and a red diagonal stripe on the front doors. They have fixed fares, but a trip costs 20-25 € depending on the distance. Ubers are on semi-legal status, but they are guaranteed cheaper. Underground parking near the museum is one – on the side of St. Jerome Avenue (40.415641, -3.695275), it is paid – 1.5 € per hour.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Thyssen Museum building - photo

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is an art museum founded in the old palace of the Duke of Villahermosa, located in Madrid, within the so-called “Golden Triangle of the Arts”. along with the Museo del Prado and the Museo Reina Sofía.

A seemingly simple three-story building, without architectural frills, houses a rich collection of paintings by artists of several eras.

Moreover, this collection appeared due to the transfer to the museum walls of a huge private collection of paintings of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, who collected them for 700 years.

Exhibitions and celebrations are held there periodically. And visitors admire the famous museum exhibits every day.

A brief visit to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza )

Address: Paseo del Prado 8, Madrid.

Metro: Banco de España station (line 2).

Ticket price:

  1. Entrance fee to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: priority admission (book online) €13; under 12 years old free of charge; from 65+ years old €8.
  2. Ticket to Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum + Queen Sofia Art Center + lunch (book online) – € 36,58.

Tip 1. Book your tickets online in advance so you don’t waste time standing in line for hours. Then you are guaranteed to visit the museum at the time and date you want!

Tip 2. Planning to visit the Golden Triangle of Madrid: the Prado, Queen Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums? Book an online “Art Walk around Madrid” ⇒

Tip 3. More information about the Prado Museum Here ⇒ ; instructions on how to buy a ticket to the Prado Museum Here ⇒ ; more information about the Queen Sofia Museum Here ⇒ .

Opening Hours

  • Monday 12:00 – 16:00;
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00.

Closed: January 1, May 1 and December 25.


History of the museum

The art collection was begun by August Thyssen (1846-1926), a German industrialist who owned a steel company.

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He added to his collection 7 marble sculptures by Auguste Rodin in addition to a large collection of paintings. Today, 4 of them belong to Carmen Cervera, widow of Baron Hans Thyssen-Bornemis, who keeps them in the museum’s atrium.

After August’s death, his work was continued by his son Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who in just 10 years (1928-1938) added many of the best ancient paintings to the collection: Dürer, Holbein, Jan van Eyck, Fra Angelino, Carpaccio, Caravaggio, Tiepolo, and others.

There is an opinion that such a successful rich acquisition of paintings was possible thanks to the special situation on the art market during the Great Depression and the aggravated situation in Europe, in the period between the two world wars.

At that time, many European magnates (Barberini, Spencer), along with American magnates (Jack Morgan), were forced to sell their paintings, and Thyssen purchased them at relatively low prices.

The collection grew rapidly and, as early as 1930, went to the “Neue Pinokothek” exhibition in Munich. The collection of over 400 canvases astounded art lovers.

In 1932, Baron Heinrich purchased a seventeenth-century mansion on the shores of Lake Lugano, Switzerland. There he built a pavilion in the garden, where he exhibited his collection. This small private museum opened in 1937.

After the Baron’s death in 1947, by which time he had managed to collect about 525 paintings, three of his four sons decided to open the collection, despite the prohibition in his will.

Ticket to Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The second Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002) continued to collect art. He bought back some of the pictures from his brothers, who had taken a part of the collection, while the rest were dispersed among various foreign museums.

The Baron enlarged his family collection not only with works of old European masters, but also with Impressionism and modern painting.

Intense collecting led to the fact that in just 1 year the collection of paintings was enlarged by 100 copies. In addition to paintings, the baron added sculptures, antique silver objects, furniture, carpets, and more to his collection.

In 1986, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza announced that he was looking for a new place to house the artistic treasures of the collection, considered the largest private collection in the world.

Several countries took the initiative to host the art collection, but eventually, in 1993, the Spanish government paid £232 million for it and the collection arrived in Madrid, where it remains to this day.

Corridor with works of art - photo

Museum exhibition

The collection of paintings in the analog of the Tretyakov Gallery, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, is still enlarged by the private collection of the family. Baroness Thyssen is now in charge of this.

There are a total of 1,000 works in the art gallery, placed on 3 floors in descending order:

  • From 13th-century Italian Gothic on the 3rd floor;
  • to the abstract art of the 1980s – on the 1st floor.

In the presented paintings one can observe the evolution of directions in art and changing of epochs: from impressionism to pop-art, which is not typical for other European museums.

The collection of art works harmoniously complements the Prado and Queen Sofia Museum’s pictorial holdings, especially in such areas as:

  • Medieval Italian painting;
  • German Renaissance;
  • Dutch Baroque;
  • international movements in Romanticism.

And sections of Impressionism, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism and other avant-garde movements are unique in the Thyssen Museum.

Works of art exhibition - photo

The gallery’s permanent exhibitions are supplemented by a variety of temporary exhibitions:

  • El Greco (1999);
  • Braque (2002);
  • Gauguin (2004 and 2012);
  • Dürer and Cronach (2007);
  • and others.
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The exhibition of the National Gallery covers 8 centuries in European painting, presenting the most interesting works of each epoch:

  1. Italian Renaissance of the 13th to 15th centuries.
  2. German Renaissance of XIV-XVI centuries.
  3. The Netherlands of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
  4. Italian Baroque painting.
  5. Dutch Baroque of XV-XVI centuries.
  6. From Rococo to Realism.
  7. Impressionism of XVIII century.
  8. Post-impressionism of the end of XVIII century.
  9. American painting of XVIII-XIX centuries.
  10. Fauvism of XIX-XX centuries.
  11. German expressionism of XXth century.
  12. Cubism and futurism of XX century.
  13. Russian avant-garde of XX century.
  14. Interval abstraction.
  15. Surrealism of XX century.
  16. From Cubism to 20th century hyperrealism.

The museum features the work of countless famous and talented artists such as:

  • Duccio;
  • Di Tomme;
  • Bernardo Duddy;
  • Dürer;
  • Holbein;
  • Cranach;
  • Van Eyck;
  • Memling;
  • G. Romano;
  • Caravaggio;
  • Rubens;
  • Rembrandt;
  • Frans Hals;
  • Watteau;
  • Boucher;
  • Manet;
  • Monet;
  • Degas;
  • Van Gogh;
  • Cézanne;
  • Matisse;
  • Derain;
  • and many others.

Famous works include “The Card players” by Leiden, “Christ with the Cross” by El Greco, “Venus and Cupid holding a mirror” by Rubens, and others.

In 2004 an additional building was built next to the main building of the art gallery; it is more modern inside and out.

It contains an exhibition of works belonging to the Baroness and Widow Thyssen.

There is a terrace for relaxation and a small café-restaurant for visitors.

Art collection of the museum - photo

Opening times and ticket prices

The museum is open daily for visits to the permanent exhibition:

  • Monday – shortened day – from 12 noon to 4 p.m;
  • On other days (Tuesday-Sunday) – from 10.00 to 19.00.

The schedule of temporary exhibitions varies. Therefore, check the actual information on the official website of the museum:

You can buy tickets on the website of our official partner ⇒ .

The price of a full ticket is 13 euros per person, pensioners and students will visit the museum for 9 euros.

Free admission for all is provided only on one day – Monday, between 12:00 and 16:00.

Important: Temporary exhibitions are not free.

You can also buy package packages that include, in addition to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, queue-free visits to the Queen Sofia Art Center and the Royal Palace. It will be much cheaper than buying tickets separately.

Where is the museum and how to get there

The museum is located at: Madrid, Paseo del Prado, 8, Palacio de Villahermosa, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Territorially located near the center and the main attractions of the capital, at a distance of:

  • 350 meters to the Prado Museum;
  • 600 meters to the Retiro Park;
  • 1 kilometer to the Museo Reina Sofia.

To get to the Galleria Thyssen-Bornemisza is convenient both by metro and by bus, or by car:

  1. Once down in the subway, take the 2nd branch and go to the Banco de Espana station.
  2. Take the bus to get here by taking almost any of the routes that go to the city center.
  3. If you plan to travel by car, there is convenient parking available outside the museum.

Hotels near the museum will be easy to find, because it is located in the center of Madrid, where there are accommodations of any star and set of services.

Madrid Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spain is an exceptional and unique art gallery, which brought together within its walls the works of all famous artists of the world, who worked from XIII to XX centuries.

The largest and most influential private European collection has become a parade of eras of fine art, which everyone should definitely visit.

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