Visiting the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya's motto is "One museum, 1000 Years of Art." Their motto accurately sums up the MNAC collection of 1000 years of Catalan history - from medieval times to the present.

Two areas that the MNAC is famous for are the Romanesque frescoes and Gothic art. Even if you are not excited about medieval history, MNAC is worth a visit to walk through the Palau National, a baroque-style palace built in 1929, and to sit on the terrace with sunny views over the Placa d'Espanya to Tibaldo mountain in the distance.

Address: Palau Nacional, Parc de Monjuic. Closed on Mondays. For up-to-date ticket information, visit the MNAC website.

MNAC Fast Facts and Highlights

Romanesque Collection - Numerous 10th century churches in the Pyrenees were falling down and with them their murals. Murals were used as "cheap bibles" to instruct doubting villagers on the basics of faith. These murals or frescos were painstakingly moved and restored at MNAC in their own alcoves or "ambits".

There are 21 murals displayed at MNAC in in chronological order.

Christ de Tauill (1123) from a 12th century church. Notice the eyes on the angels wings which symbolize the all-knowing power of God. Also, note that the graffiti showing animals, crosses, and labyrinths have been preserved.

In all the murals, you can find Jesus because he has a cross in his halo.

Madonna of the Humility by Fra Angelico (1435) Doesn't she look more like a person in the painting than in the 12th century murals?

Glide under the huge dome (which was once an ice-skating rink) over to the cafeteria.

Ride the glass elevators upstairs to the Modern section (1800s to 1930). Like a Catalan Musee d'Orsay.

Photo-Journalism - Look at the photography. Photo-journalism came of age during the Spanish Civil War.

Tandem Bike - Find the tandem bike (1897). This painting decorated cafe "Els Quatre Gats" where Picasso held his first exhibition.

Sit on comfy sofas. If you're hungry and want to splurge visit the Oleum restaurant known for its stunning, city views.

Find Carvans of the Orient murals (1939 Philip Serit). How is this different from the church murals?

Find the Gaudi furniture. This is the original furniture that Gaudi designed for Casa Mila and Casa Batillo.


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