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Left: Patio de la casa de Sorolla by Joaquín Sorolla (1917)the 1970s, an extensive and beautifully sympathetic ?20m (£16m) restoration took place before the opening.Adjoining the Palacio are several contemporary buildings that, through an intelligent use of fi ltered light and similar neutral tones and materials, manage to share the same serene characteristics as the older architectural delight."The restoration of the Palacio de Villalón and the surrounding area has added great value to the gentrifi cation of Malaga as a whole. Original elements of the older building have been integrated into the new structure so that both sections coexist in perfect harmony," explains curator, Lourdes Moreno.The Museum is the Andalusian arm of Madrid's iconic Thyssen-Bornemisza, which alongside the Prado and Reina Sofi a forms the Spanish capital's renowned 'Golden Triangle of Art'.Malaga's Carmen Thyssen was inaugurated on March 24 last year by its founder, the famously polemic Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Known affectionately as 'Tita' - meaning 'auntie' - in the Spanish press, the Baroness was born in 1943 in Sitges, near Barcelona, and went on to be crowned Miss Spain in the early 1960s. After brief marriages to Tarzan of the Apes actor Lex Barker, and then Espartaco Santoni, in 1985 she became the fi fth wife of the late Swiss industrialist Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, and it was he who introduced her to the world of art.From the 1980s onwards, she dedicated herself to his collection and at one time it was the second largest private collection in the world, after the British Royal Collection. Today, as a whole, it is worth an estimated ?850m (£700m).In 2000, she loaned (for 11 years) part of the collection in Madrid to the State, and the deal was renewed last year, albeit for a shorter time period.The Baroness signed a similar agreement at the new museum in Malaga, pledging the pieces on show there until at least 2025.With more than 183,000 visitors in its fi rst nine months, El Museo Carmen Thyssen has already proven to be a major success. This is hardly surprising when one considers the calibre of the 230 pieces on display, 40 per cent of which had never before been seen in a public gallery. There are three permanent ? www.nadfas.org.uk NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2012 43 CARMEN THYSSEN

collections, located on the ground, fi rst and second fl oors; and two temporary exhibition galleries.The Permanent CollectionThe Carmen Thyssen's permanent collection provides the visitor with an extensive, indeed a landmark, study of the genres that have signifi cantly infl uenced the great Spanish painters, with Andalucía a primary focus of the pieces on display. "In addition to being a unique collection of Andalusian paintings - thanks to the generosity of the Baroness - it has also brought a new vision to 19th-century works, an era which has not been highly valued in Spain, up until now," says Lourdes Moreno.The wide-ranging scope refl ects the expansive personal tastes of the Baroness - after all, most of these pieces come directly from her never-before-seen collection. The intimate relationship that she has with the works is highlighted when she tells me that she acquired Ramón Casas i Carbó's Julia (1915) as the sitter reminded her of her own mother, María del Carmen Fernández de la Guerra y Álvarez. Leading names in 19th-century Spanish art, including Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, José Jiménez Aranda, Mariano Fortuny, Julio Romero de Torres, Joaquín Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga, among others, form the core of the collection, a collection that is divided into four principal categories: Old Masters, Romantic Landscapes, Naturalist Landscapes, and Fin-de-Siècle.Your visit to the Museum, in the Old Masters section, begins with an encounter with the masterful Santa Marina (1640-1650), by Francisco de Zurbarán, one of the most enigmatic painters of the Spanish Golden Age. The painting is an example of the artist's 'retratos a lo divino' era, in which his subjects were cast as their patron saints. Three small pieces, by the late 17th-century, Madrid-born Jerónimo Ezquerra, depicting the birth and childhood of Jesus Christ, join Santa Marina in the gallery which is presided over by an early 13th-century carving of The Dead Christ and a pair of glazed terracotta cherubs (1525-1550) from the Della Robbia studio.In the 19th century, Spanish landscape painters increasingly shunned the serene, idealistic tendencies of their forebears and Above: The internal Renaissance courtyard in the museum44 NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2012 www.nadfas.org.ukCARMEN THYSSEN