• Richard Farr

The best private art collection in the world?

I never did write a post here about Madrid’s Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which I finally got to visit for one entire glorious day back in the spring. I just discovered that virtually every painting in their collection is available as a screen-saver, so I now have a rotating carousel of brilliant portraits and landscapes. The medieval and early modern collections, especially, are just staggeringly, breathtakingly rich and beautiful. Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden, Antonello da Messina – wow! Such power, and pity, and humane wit. Aren’t these just a few of the greatest portraits ever painted?

WEYDEN, Roger van der (atribuido)_Retrato un hombre_ 436 (1930.126)

CAMPIN, Robert (Maestro de Flemalle)_Retrato de un hombre robusto. Robert de Masmines (?), c. 1425_74 (1960.1)

MEMLING, Hans_Retrato de un hombre joven orante (anverso), c. 1485_284.a (1938.1.a)

ANTONELLO DA MESSINA (Antonello di Giovanni degli Antonii)_Retrato de un hombre, c. 1472-1476_18 (1964.7)

Some more here. I don’t think I have never felt so strong a desire to steal selected items and take them home:

There’s also a fabulous sculpture of Saint Sebastian, done by Bernini … when he was 17. If I were a better person, I wouldn’t find that annoying.

The Renaissance and Modern stuff isn’t bad either …

Oh, and later we were in Rome, where the Galleria Borghese also (and with equal plausibility, and with its own whole brace of humanly impossible Berninis) claims to be “the best private art collection in the world.”