As part of the celebrations in 2021 to mark the centenary of the birth of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, his heirs have all been contributing to several special exhibitions planned by the museum in his honour. Following the highly successful exhibition German Expressionism from the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection that inaugurated the celebrations at the end of 2020, the museum is presenting a new selection of twenty works many of which formed part of the Baron’ father’s collection of early renaissance decorative arts which he was passionate about. These were only shown once in 1992 on the occasion of the inauguration of the museum. The exhibition contains some other works which have never been seen before in Madrid, enhancing the breadth of the collecting power of both generations. The works included in this exhibition are made possible thanks to Baroness Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Following his most generous gesture of all, having entrusted his entire collection to a trust in the hope that it would remain available to the public, he was quoted as saying: "I believe that the masterworks of the collection, should whenever possible, be made available to all, and that temporary loans and exchanges between different countries, can help further the cause of world peace." This cultural diplomacy is a big part of his legacy, beyond being an extraordinary collector. His heirs recognise his very substantial philanthropic gestures throughout his life on a scale the art world had rarely experienced.
The exhibition includes ten examples of 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and German goldsmith’s work of outstanding quality, together with two Italian and German Renaissance sculptures Dutch and German goldsmith’s work of outstanding quality, together with two Italian and German Renaissance sculptures, three spectacular, Italian Baroque rock crystal carvings, four oils from different 17th-century schools, and a remarkable, 18th-century German travelling case housing 66 items.