Madrid – Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Floor 2)

I spent rather longer at the Thyssen than I had anticipated, as I felt that there was such a depth to the collection. That this gallery has been established from a private art collection marks that even more remarkable.

As I mentioned in the above post, the gallery has information on nearly every artwork on its web-site, which added an extra dimension to many of the paintings. I also could have downloaded photos from the gallery’s web-site rather than use my own photos, which are often not quite level, but it didn’t feel quite as personal…

Canaletto’s Grand Canal from San Vio which was painted in 1723. The gallery has seven artworks by Canaletto, one of the largest collections of his works in the world. The gallery acquired this artwork in 1958 from the Liechtenstein collection, which slightly confuses me, as I’m not sure why it was sold. But other works by Canaletto were also sold at the same time, and at least has been bought back by the Liechtenstein collection. Their collection is housed in Vienna, although it can only now be accessed by going on a tour, there’s no standard access to the public any more.

Edgar Degas’s Race Horses in a Landscape which was painted in 1894. The gallery has four works by Degas and this painting was once owed by Louisine Havemeyer. I confess my knowledge of artwork is rather limited, but I liked the description that the gallery has of this work, “it is also interesting to note the brilliant hues that Degas used as if they are spices in an exotic visual stew”.

Edgar Degas’s The Pond in the Forest which was painted in 1867. The gallery doesn’t give any information on the history of this painting, but relying on the web-site again, they note “Degas laid his dark browns and greens onto a white primed canvas with large brushes and proceeded to use the palette knife to scrape the surface, revealing the canvas weave and the white priming throughout the painting”. I also like how Degas mocked those artists who painted outside, instead of sitting inside a Greggs to complete their artwork (I’ve obviously modernised the exact location of where Degas completed his paintings, but I’m sure it’s broadly accurate).

Back to Canaletto, and this is the 1748 artwork of the South Facade of Warwick Castle. I hadn’t realised he had painted so many artworks in England, I had rather thought he had mostly concentrated on Italian scenes. Referring again to the level of depth on the gallery’s web-site, they’re able to share the information that this artwork was in Warwick Castle’s billiard room in 1853 and in the breakfast room by 1893. Warwick Castle, and most of its contents, were sold in 1978 and that is when this gallery purchased the work.

Jan Brueghel I’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee which was painted in 1596. The colours of this painting are bright and vivid, not quite what I would expect of an artwork which is over 400 years old. The oils are painted onto copper and there are similar artworks painted by the artist in numerous galleries.

Claude Monet’s The House among the Roses which was painted in 1925. Painted just a year before the artist’s death and this artwork is one of a series of six. To my hopelessly untrained eye, I didn’t even notice the house (which I’m assuming is quite an important of the artwork given the title of the piece) until standing back a little.

Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man, painted in 1518 and for some time thought to have been painted by Giulio Romano. The face is beautifully painted, but I think it’s fascinating to read about the lengthy process of art experts deciding who painted it. It appears that it was painted by more than one person, following the analysis of the various brushstrokes and styles across the artwork. On the bright side for these art historians, it seems unlikely that whatever their decision is that they can ever be proved wrong…

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Wheatfield, painted in 1879. The artwork was painted at Wargemont, in Normandy, and is an early impressionist piece.

Peter Paul Ruben’s Portrait of a Young Woman with a Rosary, painted in 1609. It is known who the sitter is, which is unfortunate, and it’s thought that the painting remained in Ruben’s family until 1853. It was then owned by numerous private collectors before being purchased by the gallery in 1979.

Hans Holbein of Joven’s Portrait of King Henry VIII, painted in 1537. This is the younger Holbein, and perhaps the best known for his paintings of members in the Tudor court. It’s not entirely clear whether this portrait was in the King’s private collection, but it was later owned by the Earl of Sutherland. It was then sold privately before being purchased by the gallery, and it’s one of the highlights of the collection.

Matthias Stom’s The Supper at Emmaus, painted in the 1630s. I hadn’t heard of the artist, but I did really like the colours which were used, it did feel that a light was being pointed at the centre of the canvas. For some time this painting was located in the West Indies, before being owned by a family of wine-growers in Bordeaux.

John George Brown’s Tough Customers, painted in 1881. This was another artist that I’d never heard of, but I thought his artwork was particularly interesting. Reading more about him, apparently he’s popular, but art critics aren’t too impressed by his work. But I like him anyway  🙂   He liked painting street urchins and those with no money because he felt that he related to them. He was mainly painting children in New York, but he was actually a British artist who originally came from Durham.

Another work by John George Brown, this time entitled The Bully of the Neighbourhood and this was painted in 1866. The gallery’s web-site notes that the artist liked to tell a story, which is clearly evident in this painting.

Correggio’s Portrait of a Man, painted in 1520. It’s not quite agreed whether this painting is by Correggio or by El Greco, but it spent much of its time located in Brussels. It isn’t known who the sitter was, but it is currently thought that he had a role of a magistrate.

Alfred Sisley’s Evening in Moret, painted in 1888. I always thought Sisley was a British artist, which is technically true, but he spent most of his life in France. The painting is of the River Loing in central France, and the artist painted numerous similar scenes in different seasons of the year.

Wolfgang Beurer’s Portrait of Johann von Rückingen, painted in 1487, which makes this one of the earlier portraits in the collection. There was some detective work to ascertain who painted this work, and it was only established in the twentieth century.