The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers a comprehensive look at the history of European painting from its beginnings in the thirteenth century until the last decades of the twentieth century. Through a chronological journey, visitors can follow the movements and streams of the painting, starting from the early Italians until late Surrealism and the development of the Pop sensibility in the Sixties. Since June 2004 the Museum has been enriched with new rooms, the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, exceptionally completing some of the most outstanding chapters in the permanent collection, such as the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, landscape painting , impressionism, early twentieth century avant-garde, most notably, the Fauvism and German Expressionism.
Surrealism was not just another art movement: it was a whole new attitude to life which profoundly influenced all subsequent art and totally changed contemporary aesthetic sensibilities. This exhibition – the first of its kind - focuses on the extent to which its impact is rooted in the close relationship it established between dream and image.
The exhibition brings together 163 creations by great Surrealist masters such as Breton, Dalí, Delvaux, Tanguy, Magritte, Masson, Ernst and Arp. The works on display include paintings, drawings, collages, objects, sculptures, photographs and film from museums, art galleries and collections all over the world. Together, they illustrate the richness and variety of the different supports employed to articulate the relationship between art and the unconscious mind.
In artistic terms, the great innovation of the Surrealists was to stop considering sleep and dreams as an empty space, a hole in the waking conscience, and to start seeing them as the other, hidden, half of life itself, as a dimension of consciousness the exploration and liberation of which are essential for the enrichment and expansion of the inner psyche.