For a comprehensive collection of Catalan art spanning one thousand years, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) houses a variety of visual mediums which explain and reflect the history of the region. With almost 250,000 works in the museum's collection alone, MNAC unites the old Museu d'Art de Catalunya and Museu d'Art Modern under the one roof.
With so much to see, adult admission to MNAC is €12 and valid for two days (children under 16 years of age are free), with free admission after 3pm on Saturdays and the first Sunday of each month. Situated in the Italian-style Palau Nacional on Montjuïc hill, MNAC commands a stunning view of the city and surrounds. After several renovations, the museum officially opened in 2004 and is complemented by other cultural institutions in the area. The MNAC permanent collections showcase a variety of art including sculpture, painting, drawing, engraving, posters, photography and coinage traversing the 10th to mid-20th century through Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque to Modern art periods.
Highlights of the exhaustive collection include the unique Romanesque exhibit with mural paintings sourced from rural churches in the Pyrenees and Old Catalonia. The collection of panel paintings are notable for displaying the quantity and antiquity of Catalan works with emphasis on the variety of technique and quality, especially the Frontal of La Seu d'Urgell. The exhibitions of Renaissance and Baroque art include masterpieces from renowned painters such as El Greco, Zubarán, Velasquez and Rubens. The Modern collection contains examples of the Catalan Modernist (Art Nouveau) style as well as a dedicated gallery of Picasso's work.
There are also temporary exhibitions to explore during your visit. The current exhibition, which runs until 23 September, 2013, is Gods and Myths of Antiquity - an exploration of the myths and cults of the inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula from the 5th century BC to the arrival of the Visigoths through the examination of Hispanic coins. This exhibition attracts an extra charge of €3.5. To visit MNAC, the closest Metro station is Placa Espanya, then take bus numbers 55 or 65 to MNAC and walk four minutes to the museum.