The National Art Museum Of Catalonia

Published on 9/29/2008 in Spanish Culture

National Art Museum of CataloniaMNAC, short for The National art museum of Catalonia, Standing at a perfect position on Montjuic hill, Barcelona, Spain, prides itself on a wealth of historic and modern art objects.

The name "National art museum of Catalonia" or as the Spanish say "Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluna" was just recently given to it. MNAC is the result of merging Catalonian Law Museum, Catalonian Art Museum and Modern Art Museum in 1990.

MNAC enjoys a rich collection of Romanesque art from 11th to 13th centuries which are mostly taken from chapels and churches within and around Catalonia area. These are wall-paintings which were carried to the museum very carefully.

There are also a unique collection of Renaissance and Baroque items gifted by Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Paintings like Three Beggars - Il Pitocchetto - by Giacomo Ceruti and famous Sailing Boats on the Shore beside a Village by Salomon Jacobsz are examples of items in this section.

There is also a section dedicated to modern Catalan art mostly from the 19th century including "he Portrait of Painter's Wife and Children" by Claudi Lorenzale using oil on canvas and Ruins by Lluيs Rigalt.

Photography has also a share in MNAC including 6500 pictures from the 19th and 20th centuries. Pictures like Riot Police taken by Agustي Centelles on 19 July 1936 and The Columbus Monument by Francesc Català-Roca are good examples of photos there.

One of the most interesting sections is The Numismatic Cabinet of Catalonia comprising 130000 pieces of medals and coins. The very rare piece of Drachma from Emporion belonging to third century BC and Pirral from Mesina belonging to Petter II period are displayed in this section. Another piece that cannot be overlooked is a 10 reales coin from Barcelona, Louis XIV period.

Gothic art has been allocated a large section of MNAC. Gothic art was very popular in 12th century. A gothic artist would try to include as much story as they could onto a single painting, sculpture or fresco. "Life and Legend of Saint Nicholas" is a sample of it. This fresco as the name makes clear, demonstrates a full account of St. Nicholas' life. One piece of tempera on wood in this section that took the writer's eyes was altarpiece of the Virgin transferred from the monastery of Santa Marيa in Sigena in 1918. Each one of these masterpieces and hundreds of others alone is enough to convey the whole idea behind Gothic art.

Perhaps the most interesting fact about MNAC is that it dose not just attract art-lovers. In order to reach the museums one has to take around 100 steps on Montjuic hill at which point the view of Barcelona is breathtaking. There is also the majestic "Magic Fountain" which is very popular among tourists and although performing only 15 minutes each turn, hundreds of tourists gather around it to appreciate the work of Carles Buigas, the designer of the fountain. The Barcelona Olympic Stadium, the venue for the 1992 Olympic games, and a very beautiful park is located at the back of the museum that are really worth a visit.

Written by: Steve Kevin

About the author:Steve Kevin writes for and and

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thisisspain said:
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 @ 10:57 AM

Great article about a great museum, in a great building, in a great location in a great city.

The illuminated water-fountain at night IS truly amazing.

It does not get better!


Kind Regards


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