National Museum of Art of Catalonia or MNAC

Medieval Art at its best...

The impressive building now housing the MNAC was first built as the Spanish pavilion for the 1929 World Fair. Its location is equally impressive, overlooking the former Fair Grounds, now Avda. Maria Cristina, and the city.

After over fifty years as a temporary structure built for the 1929 World Fair, it started to show signs of overall and structural weakness. Major -and controversial- refurbishment works were undertaken in the 80s and 90s, during which foundations were added and the main cupola was reinforced.

And its contents match the container and its location, as this museum is well renowned for its collections of Romanesque and Gothic periods' medieval art.

Be prepared to spend some more time there than what you expected.

The Romanesque Collection

Romanesque wall painting

Romanesque was the first artistic style that spread throughout most of Europe when the dark ages started to clarify a little by the 11th century and lasted until it was replaced by the more modern Gothic style, by the 14th.
The Romanesque works on display (paintings and sculpture) are mostly from Catalonia and were brought from tiny village churches in remote mountain valleys which were all painted over, inside and outside.

The display here is remarkable as it recreates, with plaster and wooden frames, the actual three-dimensional structures of the chapels, apses, or naves they originally embellished.

Romanesque painting had a profound influence on the modern trends that appeared at the turn of the 20th century and at times it becomes strikingly obvious.

The Gothic Collection

Gothic painting By the Gothic period wealthy cities, merchants, bishops and cathedrals dominated the scene (as opposed to villages, landlords, monasteries and abbots during the previous Romanesque period) and so they started to commission all kinds or artworks, artefacts and objects.

Oil painting on wood was developed so paintings became movable objects people could take with them when they moved.

The works on display illustrate this diversity of sources, supports and purposes and range from traditional altarpieces and retables to portraits, tombs or daily life objects.

There are monographic sections dedicated to specific themes or artists, such as the figure of the donor or representation of Virgin Mary in European sculpture or the influences of Italian and Flemish styles and techniques.

MNAC Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

Palau Nacional
Parc de Montjuïc
Area: Montjuïc
Metro: L3 L1 (Espanya)

Opening Days and Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday:
10 am to 7 pm
Sundays and Public Holidays:
10 am. to 2:30 pm
Closed on: Monday, except public holidays
January 1st, May 1st and December 25th
Price: € 8.50
Groups: € 6.00
Previous arrangements required
Free entrance on:
1st Sunday of each month