Its wide range of symbolic, sociological, literary and aesthetic connotations within the history of Western painting means that it can be approached from the viewpoint of numerous different issues. These include man’s relationship with nature and conquest of it, our vulnerable position midway between the fertility and destruction that give rise to natural resources, spirituality and ancestral rites associated with the elements, the relationship between water and the female, and pure enjoyment of its contemplation.

The present tour of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection spans the 14th to the 20th centuries through a selection of “images of water” that will introduce us to a wide range of expressive landscapes. We will be seeing lakes, with their reflections that so fascinated painters, springs and rivers associated with biblical and mythological stories, unknown seas or ones whose raging waters have tested the courage of seafarers to the limit, majestic winter landscapes, ports and scenes of leisure activities. These are just a few of the themes that the painters in question have bequeathed to us, inviting us to reflect on and look at water in the context of our daily surroundings in a new way.