The Catalan National Art Museum

The Catalan National Art Museum is, as can be guessed from its name, the National Art Museum of this sunny region of Spain, of which, Barcelona is the capital: Catalonia.  In this particular building, a large part of the region's artistic heritage is housed, whose cultural richness has been carefully preserved and cared for thanks to the region's historic nationalist identity.  

The Catalan National Art Museum
The Catalan National Art Museum

Why should you visit the MNAC?

Apart from anything else, because of the museum building itself, a majestic piece of palatial architecture that dominates the Plaza Espanya. The Catalan National Art Museum is housed within the National Palace of Montjuïc, which was built for the International Exhibition of 1929.  In 1934 it opened its doors to the public, gathering together its medieval collection.  In 1995, when the museum had already obtained the title of "National," the new galleries for Romanesque art were inaugurated and subsequently, the exhibits representing modern art in 2004.  

In this museum, you will have the opportunity to admire the largest collection of Romanesque mural paintings anywhere in the world which include works by the most representative artists of Catalan Modernism such as Gaudí or Casas. They complete the background of Gothic art with the great Renaissance and Baroque painters (such as Titian and Velázquez) along with an interesting photography collection

The tremendous strength, quality and versatility of the collection offers visitors a truly complete experience, before, during and after their visit.  

The Museum's collection and exhibitions

The MNAC collection includes different categories of exhibitions: medieval Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque as well as modern art, drawings, paintings, posters, photographs and coins.   In addition to all this, there is also an extensive catalog of medieval works which were donated by the politician and patron Francesc Cambó. The museum hosts exhibitions of famous Catalan artists such as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso: to find out what's on show at the moment, have a look at the museum's dedicated web page: Museum website.

Interior of the Museum

Interior of the one of the Museum's galleries 

Activities at the Museum

Inside the Catalan National Art Museum, free guided tours are organized every day, the price of which is included in the entry fee to the exhibition in question and there are also documentation courses, conferences with collectors, interviews and seminars.  In addition to this, the "espacio educArt" arranges free events in which you can get to know more about a particular artist and their works in the areas which are dedicated to them and open to visitors on a limited number of days. For adults, the Museum organizes learning activities about artistic techniques with experts in the field as well as visit itineraries which are led by teachers who have uncovered the many curiosities that are hidden within a Museum with such a wealth of contents.  An example?  You can see for yourself the process of conservation work.  It is also possible to find out about some of the less well known areas of the city from the terraces of the Palau Nacional.

Organizing a visit to the Museum: location and timetables

The easiest way to get to MNAC is on the Metro, Red Line L1 getting off at the stop for Plaza Espanya.  Once you arrive here, you will be able to admire the majestic building which houses the museum which overlooks the steps at the end of which, you will find Barcelona's famous magic fountain.  That's something truly worth seeing by day or by night!  In order to reach the Catalan National Art Museum, you just need to keep walking - don't be put off by the steps, just take your time. You can stop for a break and take some beautiful photos which will help you to forget that you're tired from all the exercise.  And, you'll be happy to know that the last part - which is the steepest - has an escalator.  With regard to admission times, you will need to take care to differentiate between summer and winter time.  During the beautiful summer months, you will find that the Museum is open daily from Tuesday to Saturday at 10:00 until 20:00.  From October to April, the opening times change from 10:00 until 18:00.  On Sundays, the Museum always closes at 15:00 and on Mondays, it is closed all day. 

Do you like the idea of seeing the city from high up but don't know when you'll get the chance to do this in Barcelona? Then you'll love the itinerary for a city tour from on high in two days which we have put together for you.  Also, if you would like to include the Catalan National Art Museum in a full tour of the city, you can try the Green Route on the Hop Off Hop On Tour which we propose on our web page.

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