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December 22, 2018

Spain: Madrid, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

“My Young Friend” (Andrew Wyeth)

Madrid is known for its art museums; they rank as some of the very best in the world. When we visited Madrid in November of 2017 we visited the Museo del Prado and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. As much as we would have liked, we never managed to fit Madrid’s third major art museum, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, into our schedule, even after we extended our stay to nine nights. We will have to see the Reina Sofia on a return visit to Madrid.

Some museums allow visitors to take photographs without flash. Others do not. It has never been entirely clear to me why some museums choose to have a no photo rule and others don’t. Nevertheless, that is the way it is. And even if there is a no photo rule, I inevitably see someone sneaking pictures where they aren’t supposed to, usually with a less obvious cell phone. Sometimes the staff tries to stop them but many times they don’t.

“Hotel Room” Edward Hopper (1931)

In Madrid the Prado does not allow picture taking. Fortunately the Thyssen does.

I like taking pictures of museum art that strikes me as I walk through. It gives me a second chance to look more closely and reflect on the work later when I review them on the computer. Sure, it’s never as good as seeing the artwork in person. But it helps to have more time. And you don’t have to dodge the tour groups when you look at a photo on the computer screen.

“Self-Wearing a Hat and Two Chains” Rembrandt

“Portrait of a Women Aged Twenty-Six” (Anonymous)

Another advantage of taking photos is that the works are pre-selected. I only take pictures of the paintings that strike me. The Thyssen holds 1,600 paintings. It is less work to look at a smaller set of pre-selected pictures.


We were in Madrid in November of 2017.

“Portrait of a Young Woman with a Rosary” Peter Paul Rubens

“Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Waking up” Salvador Dali

“Hugo Erfurth with a Dog” Otto Dix (1926)

“Portrait of Ferdinand VII” (Francisco de Goya)

“Portrait of Dr. Haustein” (Christian Schad, 1928)

“Portrait of Henry the VIII” Hans Holbein el Hovein (1537)

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