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The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers visitors an overview of art from the 13th century to the late 20th century. In the nearly one thousand works on display, visitors can contemplate the major periods and pictorial schools of western art such as the Renaissance, Mannerism, the Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism and the art of the 19th and 20th centuries up to Pop Art. The museum also features works from some movements not represented in state-owned collections, such as Impressionism, Fauvism, German Expressionism and the experimental avant-garde movements of the early 20th century. In addition, it boasts an important collection of 19th-century American painting not found in any other European museum institutions.
Aside from its panoramic perspective, the collection housed in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum also offers us a glimpse of the tastes and preferences of the two persons principally responsible for its existence, Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875-1947) and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002). Well versed in the Central European artistic tradition, both men showed a particular predilection for portraits and landscapes. This is evident in the works of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in contrast with the predominance of religious and historical paintings found in other Spanish museums. In 2004, the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection was brought to the Museum, adding over two hundred works that round out the representation of styles and genres already present in the Permanent Collection.