Work in focus

Thomas Struth

Museo del Prado 2, Madrid 2005
Chromogenic print
140,0 x 178,7 cm

Thomas Struth's photograph from his series of Museum pictures shows a gallery in Madrid's world-renowned Prado Museum. People both real and painted inhabit the room. The real people are standing in the foreground, two young women seen from the right in profile and presumably looking at a painting not pictured in the photograph. They are tourists from Asia dressed in casual Western wear and carrying the necessaries required in the course of visiting a city and a museum. One of them, standing further back in the central axis of the picture, is holding an audio guide, an indispensable device nowadays for contemporary museum goers. It is barely visible but marks the exact line between the corner of the room and the panelling. It also marks the point of maximum sharpness, making the inscription on the technical device legible: Museo Nacional del Prado.

Behind the two women we see paintings by the Spanish artist Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), showing full-length portraits of dignified grandeur, to the left the Greek fabulist Aesop (probably 6th century BC), of whom no actual likeness has survived, and to the right Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665) from the house of Habsburg, who had appointed Velázquez his court painter. The attire and attributes of the two figures reveal their social and spiritual status. The hoary melancholic poet with torn cloak and book; the young King in noble hunting attire and sporting a weapon. Struth aimed his camera, in advance, at the two paintings and the motion detector mounted in the corner of the room between them. Having come across the paintings by chance, the two young women take no notice of the camera. They unwittingly trigger the release at the right moment.

Struth's photograph permits the simultaneous anthropological comparison of people from widely divergent places and times under the aspects of cultural difference and global mobility. Visitors to the museum in Vaduz may identify the tourists as their deputies. They may not know who Aesop and Philip IV are, but they can still establish human contact because the two gentlemen meet the gaze of all those who look at their utterly disparate faces.

Uwe Wieczorek


Hilti Art Foundation
im Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein
Städtle 32, Postfach 370
9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Google Map

T +423 235 03 00
F +423 235 03 29

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm
Thursday 10am-8pm
Guided tours


Children (16 and under):
free of charge
Regular: CHF 15.-
Reduced: CHF 10.-
FREE on Wednesday

Collection/loan enquiries

Hilti Art Foundation
Dr. Karin Schick, director
Feldkircherstrasse 100
9494 Schaan
Fürstentum Liechtenstein


Lena-Sophia Nachbaur, communication
Presse kit

For more information, please visit

Hilti Art Foundation
Feldkircherstrasse 100
9494 Schaan

Copyright of content
© Hilti Art Foundation

Copyright of images
© Callum Innes
© Carol Wyss
© Succession H. Matisse / 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich for the work from Henri Matisse
© Succession Picasso / 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich for the work from Pablo Picasso
© 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich for the work from Hans Arp, Keith Sonnier, Jean Tinguely and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

All copyrights are reserved. All reproductions and any other use without the permission of ProLitteris (or the respective copyright holders) - with the exception of individual and private access to the works - are prohibited.


Design, Concept and project management Corporate identity
Brigitte Lampert and Hanna Züllig

Web development
Hanna Züllig and Dominik Stucky

Uwe Wieczorek
Morger + Dettli Architekten AG

Günter König
Barbara Bühler
Anne Gabriel-Jürgens
Valentin Jeck
Heinz Preute

cookie policy here