Málaga may have been unsuccessful in its recent bid to be European City of Culture 2016, but the capital of Málaga province (and de facto capital of the Coast) continues to invest in its cultural offering.
Last week I finally got to see the newly opened Museo CarmenThyssen in Málaga. It is housed in the newly renovated Palacio de Villalón, a 16th century city palace that still retains a beautiful Andalusian internal patio, (with views up to the impressive spires of the neighbouring iglesia del Sagrado Corazón) and some intricate Moorish carved wooden ceilings.
The protagonist though is the art, which here is mainly 19th Spanish works, with a focus on Andalucía. There is an impressive collection of landscapes and city scenes capturing a charming, clichéd view of the region. Moorish architecture, gypsies, flamenco dancers, bulls and bandits all combine to give a truly romantic view of historical Andalucía.
The museum’s collection is on loan from the Spanish Socialite and Baroness, Carmen Thyssen. The former Miss Spain is the widow (and fifth and last wife) of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, who had a huge collection of paintings and sculptures and other works of art. The flagship Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is in Madrid, and was inaugurated in 1992. Carmen attracted controversy during her marriage with the Baron as she allegedly tried to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his heirs in her alleged attempt to secure control of the art collection.
To her credit, Baroness Carmen Thyssen has built up her own fine collection of art and has been energetic in her desire to share it with the nation.
Málaga’s success in attracting the art gallery has helped to focus more investment in another corner the of city’s fascinating old town – in fact close by I saw renovation and construction of a new arcade, so despite the downturn, investors recognise the potential of the city.
Baroness Carmen Thyssen’s cultural investment in Málaga is certainly a welcome one and further enhances the city’s credentials as a destination city, rather than just a gateway to the Coast.