Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza: Madrid, Spain

June 30th, 2011

I woke up at 7:00 A.M. to get ready for my big day. At 7:55 A.M. I was seated at the breakfast table at my bed and breakfast (Abracadabra B&B) and I was the only one up. Norma, the owner of the B&B greeted me in Spanish. I had frosted flakes, mango yogurt, LOTS OF BREAD (sweet breads), a sandwich which was bread with cheese melted panini style, hot tea, toast and strawberry jam. Talking about bread was an understatement, it was EVERYWHERE! I was getting so full of carbs, I felt like I was filling up like a balloon. I didn’t want to be rude, so I did my best to EAT EVERYTHING! I wrote on the napking “Gracias”. I ran into Norma before going to my room and told her that I cannot eat that much bread. I got my camera ready, dressed comfy for the day and got read to go to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza close to the Prado Museum. It’s probably about a 20-30 minute walk from where I was. The museum cost 8 euros (about $10.50 U.S. dollars)  & they give no teacher discounts. They did tell me that the Reina Sofia and the Prado were free for teachers! Boo ya!

A Beautiful Walk on the way to the Thyssen and Prado

I got a headset for 4 euros. I read in Rick Steves that it was worth getting. NO PICTURES ALLOWED! Disclaimer: Please Please Please….when going to a museum, follow the rules! These pictures and art pieces need to be there in the future by us taking good care of things and listening to rules. I can’t stand going to a museum and seeing people taking flash photos of works. Flash ruins paintings and over time it will damage the picture! You can buy a postcard, so DON’T DO IT!

The Entrance of the Thyssen had a captivating statue of a baby’s head

As you walk in there was a huge white structure of a woman head and shoulders to the bellybutton. There was a picture of the King and Queen of Spain. Also there was a picture of the duchess who was responsible for the collection of art for the Thyssen.

IRONY: As you walk through the museum I ran into a couple paintings where I just had to laugh. I saw a painting of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon posed right next to each other. The Henry VIII was painted by Hans Hobein. Seeing the Catherine painting as a young child next to Henry seemed strange. If you know the history of the two, it wasn’t pretty. Catherine was very obedient and tried to keep the marriage, but Henry VIII made a huge situation of their marriage and tried to divorce her. The Catholic Church would not allow for their divorce and it eventually ended in a annulment. The Protestant Reformation was also in play.


I was also ecstatic to see a Jan Van Eyck Diptych “The Annunciation” that looked super REAL! It was a quattro centro style (have to research that more) Also saw a famous piece called “Giovanna Tornabuoni” that captures serenity, perfection & royalty. In this painting it was suggested that she was pregnant. Apparently during this time (Renaissance), it was fashionable to look pregnant. It was trendy to look like your were carrying child. It was symbolic of Mary and Jesus (Immaculate Conception) This painting caught my attention because the young man STARES AT YOU. This piece was painted by Raphael.

One particular painting is known in the art world to be an enigma. The title of the painting is the “Young Knight in a Landscape” Within the painting there is a lot of busy activity going on. There were lots of animals that were most likely symbolic of many things. There is a ferret that symbolizes purity. The deer symbolizes bravery or strength.
If you like Baroque art and like dramatic pieces, Caravaggio is a force to reckon with. I was happy to see Caravaggio’s St. Katherine of Alexandria. It was interesting for me to see a Caravaggio that did not represent any violence. She is staring at you with a calm look. You can tell that she is a saint by the faint halo above her head.
St. Katherine of Alexandria painted by Caravaggio
 Rembrandt’s Self Portrait
According to the headset, the painting above is dark and black because his career started to go down hill
My feet started getting achy at this point, but I walked through Van Gogh’s, Manet’, Degas’ and many other famous impressionists. I felt bad because I couldn’t do any more standing. Jet lag had set in.
TIPS: Allow yourself at least 3-5 hours to tour the museum if you ENJOY looking at art and know a lot about the history. There are benches within the museum and you can rest and look at the art. But if you are just going for the sake of “going” and don’t know too much about the art allow 1-2 1/2 hours. I recommend that you go to the  Museo Thyssen website  There are also private tours or group tours that are available. A gorgeous museum with an amazing collection!
Works Cited:
  1. “Britannica Mobile Edition.” Britannica Mobile. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.
  2. Catherine of Aragon Infanta. Digital image. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <;.
  3. Entrance to the Thyssen Bornemisza. Digital image. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <Entrance to the Thyssen Bornemisza>
  4. Freemysoul. “Madrid – Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 06 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.
  5. “GigaPans.” GigaPan. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.
  6. Henry VIII. Digital image. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <;.
  7. Jan Van Eyck Annunciation Thyssen. Digital image. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <×360.jpg&gt;.
  8. “Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – Inicio.” El Museo De Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.
  9. “Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – Inicio.” Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.
  10. St. Katherine of Alexandria. Digital image. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <;.

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