National Museum of Catalonian Art Barcelona

Are you looking for an excellent repository of Catalan art? If so, look no further, because this is the place for you. Under the 1990 Catalan Museums Law, multiple collections spread over the region of Catalonia were united under one roof instead of making you run around Barcelona and other Catalan cities. To better appreciate art, one must not be rushed from place to place.

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Museu Nacional d'Art Catalunya

The XIXth Century Catalan cultural and economic resurgence focused on many aspects of Catalan identity and nationhood, but it harnessed the colourfulness and fieriness of Catalan culture in its art by opening the Museu d'Art de Catalunya in the Palau Nacional on Montjuic in 1934, which was the forerunner of the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya. One of the initial and major acts of this resurgence was the disentitlement of ecclesiastical property in 1835, which made many works of art available to the general public in the Museu d'Antiguitats de Barcelona in Saint Agatha's Chapel when it opened in March 1880. In the next three decades, a few other museums opened; the Museu Municipal de Belles Arts in the Palau de Belles Arts in 1891 and the Museu d'Art i Arqueologia in the Ciutadella Arsenal in 1915, but the outbreak of the Spanish civil war in 1936 required the moving of the art to a safe place and it only came back in June 1942. The last art progenitor, the Museu d'Art Modern in the Ciutadella Arsenal, opened in 1945.

The size of this building is incredible taking a picture of it near impossible

The choice of the Palau Nacional was deliberate as it spoke directly of Catalan culture and its foray into the international world when it hosted the 1929 International Exhibition. After about 50 years, it was felt that the building needed renovating, but these only got underway in 1990. Quite a few galleries were redesigned and reinstalled, namely the Romanesque in 1995 and the Gothic in 1997. By 2000, the last renovations began and these were completed in 2004 marking the desired goal of gathering the collections of the old Museu d'Art de Catalunya (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque art collections) and the Museu d'Art Modern (19th-and 20th-century art collections) in one building; the next step was adding Department of Drawings and Prints, the Gabinet Numismàtic de Catalunya (coinage and medals) and the Biblioteca General d'Història de l'Art (General Library of Art History) into it as well.. The last inhabitant was the Department of Photography created in 1996.

Picture of the entrance A view from the front of the museum over Barcelona

All the arts are represented here: sculpture, painting, drawing, engraving and photography. The museum has taken upon itself the task of explaining the history of Catalan art over a great expanse of time. An important part of the collections is the Renaissance section as they include the big names, such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Cranach, and Rubens. Since we are talking about Catalan art, walking through the galleries of XXth Century, you cannot help but notice the preponderance of Catalan artists as they moved through the various artistic movements, such as Modernisme, Noucentisme and Avant-garde. A correlative factor of gathering Catalan art in one area is that there is a strong push for the conservation and restoration of monuments as well as giving workshops on art techniques.
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