To say that Barcelona has an abundance of museums is to understate the fact, the city is home to a plethora of museums, including ones for chocolate and magic. We have provided a comprehensive overview of the majority of those in our Guide to Barcelona Museums on the main site, but here we give you a taster by selecting 5 of the most important.
Beautifully situated atop Montjuic in the Palau Nacional, the National Art Museum of Catalonia is the jewel in the crown of Catalan culture. It was originally built for the 1929 World’s Fair, and was redone for the 1992 Olympics – the Olympic Stadium is situated behind it. The permanent collection includes Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque pieces, 19th and 20th century art, coinage, medals, photography as well as the collection Thyssen-Bornemisza, which were moved from the Monastery of Pedralbes to allow easier access for the public. During the summer there are frequent concerts both outside the museum and within the halls, and another attraction is the magical fountain which combines water, light and music to fine effect in light shows on certain evenings from Spring through Autumn.
Also known as la Torre Rosa. Between 1906 and 1926, Gaudí lived here with his niece, in a house looking like it had been plucked straight from the pages of some fairy-tale, which had been designed by Francesc Berenguer. Inside the strange looking building you can find some of his personal objects and work, including furniture, sketches, drawings and designs. This very distinctive museum is located at the gates to Parc Guell, which makes it the perfect museum to visit if you want to enjoy a picnic in one of the most distinctive parks in the world, while looking out over the city and enjoying the good weather.
Located in beautiful stone mansions on Carrer de Montcada, you can find this museum by turning off Via Laietana onto Carrer de la Princessa and turning right again. Although Picasso only spent from 1901 to 1906 in Barcelona, these would turn out to be his formative years, and as a result the collection on show here is particularly strong on his early work. Arranged chronologically, there are numerous works on display, and his Blue Period is well represented here. The second floor deals with his work created in Barcelona and Paris between 1900 and 1904 when he was much influenced by the Impressionists. From his Rose Period you can see the Portrait of Señora Canals. Later work, from his time Cannes in 1957, includes the technically complex series Las Meninas, which consists mostly of studies on Diego Velázquez’s eponymous masterpiece.
Located in Parc Montjuic, and housed in a spacious, brilliant white building designed by Josep Lluís Sert, this collection was donated to the city by the artist himself. The Miró Foundation is one of the citys finest collections of contemporary art, and serves as great introduction to the legacy of Miró. Holding over 11,000 pieces, the museum displays the artists paintings, sculptures and sketches. Of these, around 400 are on display and these trace his development as an artist, from his early days as an innovative Surrealist, through to his later years as an acknowledged master of abstract art in all its forms. There is also a gallery put aside for temporary exhibitions, dedicated either to an aspect of Miró’s work or to a contemporary artist or movement.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or MACBA is located in the Plaça dels Angels in the Raval barrio of the city. Designed by Richard Meier, this museum opened in 1995 to the public, and contains a permanent collection of Catalan, Spanish and other European contemporary art. The permanent collection is rotated but contains work by international artists like Klee and Calder alongside national artists like Tàpies, Barceló and Solano, and there are frequent concerts, seminars, film exhibitions and new exhibitions in a constantly changing calendar. The collection dates from the late 20th century onward, with three periods of modern art represented: the forties to the sixties; the sixties and seventies; and contemporary. The collections focus on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art, although some foreign art is also represented.