Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: A Tapestry of Artistic Excellence

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, situated in the heart of Madrid and forming a crucial component of the renowned “Golden Triangle of Art,” stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of European art. Opened to the public in 1992, following a landmark agreement between Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Spanish government, this museum has become an indispensable cultural landmark in the city.

With its extensive collection of over 1,600 paintings, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was once heralded as the second-largest private art collection globally, second only to the British Royal Collection. The museum’s role in complementing the collections of its neighboring institutions, the Prado and the Reina Sofía National Museum, adds a unique dimension to Madrid’s cultural landscape. It effectively fills historical gaps, providing visitors with a comprehensive journey through the evolution of European art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

One of the museum’s notable features is its diverse range of artworks, showcasing masterpieces by some of the most iconic artists in history. From the intricate details of Van Eyck and the timeless brilliance of Dürer to the revolutionary styles of Caravaggio and the grandeur of Rubens, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum unfolds the captivating narrative of European art. The collection seamlessly transitions through different periods and movements, encompassing the Impressionist marvels of Monet, the emotional intensity of Van Gogh, and the groundbreaking innovations of Picasso.

The museum’s architectural charm and its strategic location near the Prado Museum enhance its allure, forming a trio of institutions that collectively define Madrid’s artistic identity. The Thyssen Museum provides an intimate setting for art appreciation, allowing visitors to explore the diverse facets of human creativity in a thoughtfully curated space.

Stepping into the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is like embarking on a visual odyssey, where each painting serves as a window into a particular moment in time. The curation invites contemplation and dialogue, fostering a deep connection between the viewer and the artworks. The commitment to presenting a wide array of styles and periods reflects the founder’s passion for art and the museum’s dedication to providing a holistic art experience.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum stands as a beacon of cultural richness in Madrid, offering a nuanced and comprehensive exploration of European art. Its carefully curated collection, spanning centuries and artistic movements, coupled with its architectural charm, makes it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and tourists alike.

The Building Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Villahermosa Palace, a gem in Madrid’s palatial architecture, holds a significant place in the city’s historical and cultural narrative. Dating back to the early 17th century, this architectural marvel has witnessed centuries of transformation and cultural evolution.

Originally constructed in the 17th century, the Villahermosa Palace became an integral part of the city’s landscape during the 18th century. This era saw the gradual development of the surrounding area into the new court district, positioned opposite the illustrious Buen Retiro Palace. The strategic location of the Villahermosa Palace attests to its historical importance, nestled within the heart of Madrid’s evolving cultural and political hub.

During the 18th century, the palace became adjacent to the Palace of the Dukes of Béjar, which later became the present-day Bank of Spain. This positioning further emphasizes the palace’s role as a witness to the dynamic changes in the city’s urban layout and architectural landscape.

A pivotal chapter in the palace’s history unfolded in the late 18th century when it was acquired by the Dukes of Villahermosa. Under their ownership, the palace underwent a period of intellectual flourishing, hosting important gatherings of the era’s leading thinkers. Additionally, it served as the esteemed seat of Madrid’s Lyceum of Arts and Letters, emerging as a cultural nucleus during the Romantic period.

In the 20th century, the Villahermosa Palace took on a new role as an annex to the Prado Museum, contributing to the rich tapestry of Madrid’s renowned art institutions. This period marked a continuation of the palace’s engagement with the arts, paving the way for its transformation into something even more significant.

The culmination of the palace’s historical journey occurred in 1989 when it was reborn as the headquarters of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. This transformation solidified its place as a center for the appreciation and preservation of art, making it an essential component of the “Golden Triangle of Art” alongside the Prado and the Reina Sofía National Museum.

Today, the Villahermosa Palace stands as a testament to Madrid’s layered history, seamlessly blending the grandeur of its past with its contemporary role as a cultural institution. Visitors to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum not only have the opportunity to explore a remarkable art collection but also to immerse themselves in the rich history embedded within the walls of this magnificent palace.

The Collection

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s collection stands as a testament to the passion and discerning eye of the Thyssen family, particularly Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son, Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. Originating as a private collection in the 1920s, it has evolved into one of the world’s preeminent private art collections, spanning eight centuries of European painting.

Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the elder Baron, laid the foundation for the collection with a focus on Old Masters. His acquisitions were predominantly from the trecento and quattrocento periods, encompassing the 14th and 15th centuries. This period is well-represented by Italian painters such as Duccio and his contemporaries, offering a glimpse into the early European painting tradition. The elder Baron also amassed works from the early Flemish and Dutch painters, including Jan Van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Holbein, further enriching the collection with masterpieces from the Northern Renaissance.

The collection took on a new dimension under the stewardship of Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who expanded and diversified it by incorporating works from his relatives’ collections and acquiring a substantial number of new pieces. Unlike his father, Hans focused more on the 19th and 20th centuries, resulting in a collection that spans a broad spectrum of art movements and periods.

The museum’s holdings boast a remarkable array of Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces by renowned artists such as Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck, Murillo, and Rembrandt. These works provide visitors with an immersive experience into the rich and diverse tapestry of European art history.

Noteworthy highlights in the collection extend beyond the traditional boundaries of Old Masters, encompassing Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. The museum features iconic pieces by artists like Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Vincent Van Gogh, capturing the essence of the 19th-century artistic revolutions. Additionally, the collection embraces the avant-garde movements of the 20th century, showcasing Cubist works by Picasso, late pieces by Piet Mondrian, and compositions by Edward Hopper.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum does not aim for an all-encompassing view of art history. Instead, it offers a series of carefully curated highlights that traverse the centuries, providing visitors with a captivating journey through the evolution of European painting. The eclectic nature of the collection, with its diverse array of styles and periods, makes the museum a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts seeking a comprehensive and enriching artistic experience.


Exploring Art and Elegance at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza: A Cultural Odyssey in Madrid, Nestled within the regal Palacio de Villahermosa along Paseo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza stands as an epitome of artistic grandeur and historical opulence in the heart of Madrid. Imbued with a legacy that transcends centuries, this cultural gem beckons patrons of the arts and curious minds alike to embark on a captivating journey through European painting.

Address and Contact Information: Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado, 8 28014 Madrid Email: Website:

Opening Times:

  • Permanent Collection:
    • Mondays: 12:00 h to 16:00 h
    • Tuesdays to Sundays: 10:00 h to 19:00 h
  • Special Openings:
    • Temporary exhibitions may have different hours. For more information, click here.


  • The Museum is closed on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec.
  • Opening hours on 24 and 31 Dec are 10:00 h to 15:00 h.

Ticket Prices: For detailed information about ticket prices, please click here.

Subway Transportation:

  • Line 1 – Atocha Station:
    • The museum is conveniently accessible via Line 1 of the subway. Disembark at Atocha Station, and you are just a short walk away from a cultural escapade.

A Tapestry of Art Through the Ages: Founded in the 1920s as a private collection by Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the museum has evolved into one of the world’s premier private art collections. A collaborative effort with his son, Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, resulted in a curated masterpiece spanning eight centuries of European painting.

The collection is a symphony of artistic evolution, from the trecento and quattrocento Italian paintings to the Northern Renaissance masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer. The museum’s commitment to diversity extends to the 19th and 20th centuries, featuring Impressionist and Post-Impressionist marvels by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh, alongside 20th-century masterpieces by Picasso, Mondrian, and Hopper.

Plan Your Visit: For an enriching cultural experience, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza offers accessible opening hours, ensuring both weekday and weekend visitors can immerse themselves in art. Special openings for temporary exhibitions cater to those seeking a deeper exploration of specific artistic movements.

The museum’s strategic closure on select dates, including 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec, ensures a seamless visit planning process. Moreover, for those planning to explore art during the festive season, the museum graciously extends its opening hours on 24 and 31 Dec from 10:00 h to 15:00 h.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, with its curated elegance, historical resonance, and commitment to artistic diversity, beckons patrons to savor a cultural feast in Madrid. From the moment you step into the Palacio de Villahermosa, the intersection of history and art invites you to partake in an odyssey through the ages. For art enthusiasts and seekers of refined cultural experiences, this museum stands as an indispensable destination in the heart of the Spanish capital.