Sights to See in Barcelona Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)
The Catalan National Art
Museum of Barcelona offers within its confines a complete history of
native art from the Romanesque period through the 1940s. In between are
hundreds of samples of the finest art Barcelona has to offer.
There are thousands of objects housed here inside the magnificent Palau
Nacional. Perhaps the most notable are those
which comprise the Romanesque section. Filled with works from the early
11th century through the mid-13th century, the whole period is well
covered. Many artifacts which come from churches around the region have
been gathered and are often displayed with photos showing the building
and location of origin.
Icons, frescoes, sculptures and paintings from the period are well
displayed. In many cases, the work is shown nestled within some sort of
architectural element reproduced to look like the original setting.
This gives the visitor a more complete feel for how the object would
have appeared to viewers who saw it when it was first created.
The collection then moves seamlessly into the Gothic period covering
works from the 13th through the 15th centuries. The focus is still on
the art produced in Catalonia
(the region of Spain in which Barcelona resides), but the styles cover
a wide range. There were many influences on Gothic art, from Italy, the
Flemish and others. The diversity is readily visible among the works
Works by Jaume Huguet,
a major artist of the period, form a prominent part of the collection.
But there are also many objects from Barcelona's own Barri Gotic
(Gothic Quarter) that flesh out the rooms. Signs that centuries ago
hung outside shops, decorative items from homes and others are on
display there also.
The chronologically arranged works continue into the medieval period,
through the entire Renaissance
and beyond right up to the 1940s.
The museum houses paintings by Rubens
and an El Greco.
There are works by Zurbarán
as well as a Tintoretto.
There are old masters drawn from Fra
not far from a Canaletto.
In addition there are numerous objets d'art,
such as chandeliers and furnishings, ranging across many styles.
The Art Nouveau period is well represented in mirrors and
works form a significant part of the collection. Furnishings designed
by Barcelona's premier architect, Gaudi,
are here. Marquetry from the moderniste carpenter Gaspar Homar sit not
far from sculpture by Josep
The setting is every bit as impressive as the works it houses. The
Palau Nacional is an enormous structure with a large central dome and
side domes that top an impressive exterior. The visitor walks up a
series of steps until the entire 180 degree view is dominated solely by
this 19th century-style building. On the way to the entrance visitors
can enjoy landscaping and fountains.
The MNAC is easy to find. Just take the metro to the Montjuic district
and exit at the Placa