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Barcelona’s Top 10 : Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

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Incorporating one of the most important medieval art collections in the world, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) is housed in the majestic Palau Nacional, built in 1929. The high point of the museum is the Romanesque art section, consisting of the painted interiors of churches from the Pyrenees dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. There is also the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, with works from the Gothic period to the Rococo; the Cambó Bequest, with works by the likes of Goya and Zurbarán; and a collection of works by Catalan artists from the early 19th century to the 1940s.

  • Palau Nacional, Parc de MontjuÏc

  • Metro Espanya

  • 93 622 03 76

  • www.mnac.cat

  • Open 10am–7pm Tue– Sat, 10am–2:30pm Sun

  • Adm: €8.50; con €6 (valid for two days within one month; free first Sun of the month; includes audioguide, available in several languages)

  • Guided tours by appointment

  • DA


Gallery Guide

The Cambó Bequest and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collections are on the main floor. On the first floor are the Modern art galleries, along with the photography and numismatics collections.


On the first floor there is a top-notch restaurant in impressively elegant surroundings. There’s also a great café in the Oval Room.


There are spectacular city views from the entrance to the huge glass foyer.



Top 10 Exhibits
  1. Murals: Santa Maria de Taüll

    The well-preserved interior of Santa Maria de Taüll (c.1123) gives an idea of how incredibly colourful the Romanesque churches must have been. The symbolism concentrates on Jesus’s early life, with scenes of the Wise Men and John the Baptist.

  2. Frescoes: Sant Climent de Taüll

    The Taüll interior, is a melange of Byzantine, French and Italian influences. The apse is dominated by Christ in Majesty and the symbols of the four Evangelists and the Virgin, with the apostles beneath.

  3. Crucifix of Batlló Majesty

    This splendid, mid-12th-century wooden carving depicts Christ on the cross with open eyes and no signs of suffering, as he has defeated death.

  4. The Madonna of the Councillors

    Commissioned by the city council in 1443, this work by Lluis Dalmau is rich in political symbolism. It reveals the head councillors, supported by saints and martyrs, kneeling before an enthroned Virgin.

  5. Cambó Bequest

    Catalan politician Franscesc Cambó (1876–1974) bequeathed his enormous art collection to Catalunya; two large galleries contain artworks from the 16th to early 19th centuries, including Titian’s Girl Before A Mirror (c. 1515).

  6. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

    A small but fine selection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza’s vast collection. Among the magnificent paintings are Fra Angelico’s sublime Madonna of Humility (1433–5) and a charmingly domestic Madonna and Child (c.1618) by Rubens.

  7. Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem

    This painting depicts the painter Casas and his friend Romeu, with whom he began the bohemian tavern Els Quatre Gats .

  8. Confidant from the Batlló House

    Among the fine Modernista furnishings are some exquisite pieces by Antoni Gaudí, including this undulating wooden chair designed for confidences between friends.

  9. Woman with Hat and Fur Collar

    Picasso’s extraordinary depiction of his lover Maria-Thèrèse Walter shows him moving beyond Cubism and Surrealism into a new personal language, which would become known simply as the “Picasso style”.

  10. Numismatics

    The public numismatic collection dates back to the 6th century BC and features medals, coins (including those from the Greek colony of Empuries, which had its own mint from the 5th century BC), paper money and 15th-century Italian bills.

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