Δευτέρα 20 Δεκεμβρίου 2021

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum

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The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum (in Spanish, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza (pronounced [muˈse.o ˈtisem boɾneˈmisa]),[2] named after its founder), or simply the Thyssen, is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum on one of the city's main boulevards. It is known as part of the "Golden Triangle of Art", which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofia national galleries. The Thyssen-Bornemisza fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections: in the Prado's case this includes Italian primitives and works from the EnglishDutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia it concerns ImpressionistsExpressionists, and European and American paintings from the 20th century.

With over 1,600 paintings, it was once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection.[3] A competition was held to house the core of the collection in 1987–88 after Baron Thyssen, having unsuccessfully sought permission to enlarge his Museum in Lugano (Villa Favorita), searched for a better-suited location elsewhere in Europe.


Venus and Cupid holding a mirror, by Peter Paul Rubens

The collection was started in the 1920s as a private collection by Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon. In a reversal of the movement of European paintings to the US during this period, one of the elder Baron's sources was the collections of American millionaires coping with the Great Depression and inheritance taxes. In this way he acquired old master paintings such as Ghirlandaio's portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni (once in the Morgan Library) and Carpaccio's Knight (from the collection of Otto Kahn).[3] The collection was later expanded by Heinrich's son Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921–2002),[4] who assembled most of the works from his relatives' collections and proceeded to acquire large numbers of new works (from Gothic art to Lucien Freud).

Portrait de paysan, by Paul Cézanne, 1905-06

The collection was initially housed in the family estate in Lugano in a twenty-room building modelled after the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. In 1988, the Baron filed a request for building a further extension designed by British architects James Stirling and Michael Wilford, but the plan was rejected by the Lugano City Council.

In 1985, the Baron married Carmen "Tita" Cervera (a former Miss Spain 1961) and introduced her to art collecting. Cervera's influence was decisive in persuading the Baron to relocate the core of his collection to Spain where the local government had a building available next to the Prado. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum officially opened in 1992, showing 715 works of art. A year later, the Spanish Government bought 775 works for $350 million.[5] These pieces are now in the purpose-built museum in Madrid. After the museum opened, in 1999, Cervera loaned 429 works of her own art collection to the museum for 11 years. The loan was renewed annually for free from 2012.[5]

The Baroness remains involved with the museum. She personally decided the salmon pink tone of the interior walls and in May 2006, publicly demonstrated against plans of the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to redevelop the Paseo del Prado as she thought the works and traffic would damage the collection and the museum's appearance.

In 2015, the Baroness delayed the annual renewal of her loan while deciding whether or not to temporarily move her collection for a fee to a museum in Barcelona, the United States, or Russia. She eventually decided to keep the collection in Madrid, but in 2017, she again delayed signing the agreement. In 2021, the Ministry of Culture officially finalized an agreement to loan the collection for an annual fee of 6.5 million euros ($7.8 million) over the course of 15 years.[6]

The collection

The Old Masters were mainly bought by the elder Baron, while Hans focused more on the 19th and 20th century, resulting in a collection that spans eight centuries of European painting, without claiming to give an all-encompassing view but rather a series of highlights.

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Giambattista Pittoni, 1725, oil on canvas, 108 x 135 cm

One of the focal points is the early European painting, with a major collection of trecento and quattrocento (i.e. 14th and 15th century) Italian paintings by DuccioLuca di TommèBernardo DaddiPaolo UccelloBenozzo Gozzoli and his contemporaries, and works of the early Flemish and Dutch painters like Jan van Eyck (Diptich of the Annunciation), Petrus Christus (Madonna of the Dry Tree), Robert CampinRogier van der WeydenGerard David and Hans Memling.

Other highlights include works by leading RenaissanceBaroque and Rococo painters, including Antonello da Messina (Portrait of a Man), Francesco del CossaBramantino (Christus Dolens), Fra BartolomeoGiulio RomanoGiovanni BelliniPalma il VecchioTitianTintorettoVeroneseJacopo BassanoSebastiano del Piombo (Portrait of Ferry Carondelet), Bernardino LuiniAgnolo BronzinoDomenico BeccafumiAlbrecht Dürer (Christ among the Doctors), Hans Baldung GrienLucas Cranach the ElderHans Holbein (Portrait of Henry VIII), Albrecht AltdorferEl GrecoCaravaggio (Saint Catherine), GuercinoSebastiano RicciRubensVan DyckMurilloRembrandtFrans Hals (Family Portrait in a Landscape), Simon VouetClaude LorrainCanalettoFrancesco GuardiTiepoloGiambattista PittoniWatteauFrançois BoucherChardinFragonardGainsborough and Pompeo Batoni, as well as two famous portraits by Domenico Ghirlandaio (Giovanna Tornabuoni) and Vittore Carpaccio (Knight in a landscape).

The Museum houses a display of North American paintings from 18th and 19th centuries, including CopleyWinslow HomerJohn Singer Sargent.

View of Vessenots, Auvers, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890

The display of the European 19th century starts with works by Francisco GoyaThomas LawrenceDelacroixGéricaultCorot and Courbet. There are Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by the artists Claude MonetAuguste RenoirEdgar DegasCamille PissarroAlfred SisleyPierre BonnardToulouse-LautrecPaul GauguinCézanne, and Vincent van Gogh. The large collection of twentieth century modern art includes Cubist works by PicassoBraque and Juan Gris, as well as paintings by Edvard MunchEgon SchieleJames EnsorKandinskySalvador DalíPaul KleeChagallMagrittePiet MondrianEdward HopperJackson PollockMark RothkoRoy LichtensteinWillem De Kooning and Francis Bacon. The selection of German Expressionism is extensive, and includes Emil NoldeErnst Ludwig KirchnerAugust MackeMax BeckmannGeorge Grosz, and Otto Dix.

A collection of works from the museum (Fra Angelico, Cranach, Titian, Canaletto) is housed in Barcelona in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

One painting, Rue Saint-Honoré in the Afternoon, Effect of Rain by Camille Pissarro, belonged to a Jewish woman, Lilly Cassirer who was compelled by a Nazi official to exchange it under duress for an exit visa to escape Nazi Germany[7] shortly after Kristallnacht in 1939.[8] By 2015, her descendants had filed a lawsuit against the museum, on the grounds that it was looted by the Nazis.[8][9] On May 1, 2019, a California judge determined that the museum held the right to keep the painting, despite international agreements to the contrary.[10]


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