Frankly amazed

Barcelona Travel Blog

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Mirador del Palau Nacional
I got out of bed today with one single plan: I wanted to see the Musea National d'Art Catalunya (MNAC), which was included in my Artiket and of which I had great expectations. I walked through the door at about 10am, just after it opened, which was really good because that meant I could visit the Roman and Gothic sections of the museum without crowds and in silence.

Let me just state this clear from the beginning: this is no doubt the most beautiful and most interesting museum I have ever visited. I was amazed, right from the start, when I entered the Romanesque section of the collection.

According to the Lonely Planet, this is the biggest and most complete exhibition of important Romanesque artwork in the world.
Mirador del Palau Nacional
That doesn't only sound impressive, it is breath taking. Personally, I love the artwork from this period. Only, it is very rare to find it in good condition and to see it is such great numbers. I love Romanesque architecture, but even the buildings are rather scarce. Over the years, many old Romanesque churches where demolished and build over by Gothic churches, or just vanished in time. The ones that still exist in there original form, are often very badly maintained and rather empty. Artwork was over painted, stolen or damaged. But here, in the museum, some extraordinary pieces are preserved. From the first room on I was blown away. Old paintings from churches are, with a special technique, taken of the walls and brought in here, where the form of the original location was copied.
El Palau Nacional
So in some rooms, it's like you're walking in a church, seeing the artwork on ceilings, columns and curving walls. That alone is very special. I never saw so many paintings still so colorful, intact and clear. In every room, a scale model of the original church showed the geographic location of the building, and the spots that were rebuild and showed.
Apart from wall paintings, there were plenty of frontals, beautiful icons and wooden sculptures. All brightly painted and wonderfully preserved. An easy to use audio guide gives necessary insights to the most important pieces of the collection, and background information on symbolical and historical matters. I am still a bit over-enthusiastic when I think of this. It was so beautiful and so interesting. So very different from the Renaissance and Baroque, even late Gothic works that I'm so used to see.
The Cathedral Square
It was just all I expected, and much much more.

Same goes for the Gothic room. I know Gothic art a bit better but still, the early works here were very interesting to see from so close and in such a great state. One often sees some works in the crypts and museums of cathedrals and churches, but hardly ever this beautiful and valuable. Here, so many priceless works are brought together: wonderful!

I visited all the other collections of the museum as well, but they weren't highlights for me. Of course, I loved the Modernista part. Beautiful furniture and some sculptures as well. Funny to see the Gaudi bench for two here, on a little stage, while yesterday in La Pedrera one could just have a seat in it. But I'm not such a big fan of impressionism and I thought Catalonia might not be the best place to see Italian Renaissance, so I didn't spend that much time in these sections.
The Cathedral Square


After the permanent collection, there was also a temporary exhibition to see. The work of two war photographers was on display here. I had read about this at home and absolutely wanted to see it. Yet by the time I got there, it was very crowded. The pictures however, where brilliant, and some very moving. It was however a bit of a chock when I got back out of the museum and noticed it was 3:30pm already! Just the prove of what I've probably made obvious already: this museum is supreme!

I went to sit in front of the entrance for a while to look over Barcelona from the mirador, and then walked on to the Miró museum. I had seen a few Miró paintings in the Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid and I kinda liked it back then.
But to see a whole museum full of that type of works... pffff. I have to admit I didn't like it at all. At the point where I reached the huge blank paper with one simple blue dot I gave up. Probably I would have liked this place better if I hadn't just spend over four hours in the MNAC... The contrast was extremely big. But still, I can't say I enjoyed it. The only thing I found honestly interesting was the link they made between the works of Miró and the books he read at the time he painted them. Apart from that, hallelujah... No more Miró for me!

Instead, I decided that after so many hours of art-seeing it was time for some sight-seeing and sunbathing. The gardens of Montjuic might be nice but they didn't appeal to me that much, so I went back to waterside. It looked nice to spend a Saturday afternoon on the wooden Rambla del Mar, and it was.
Streets of the Barri Gotic
I spend the rest of the day there, and afterwards walked up to the cathedral to have a drink and some tapas. There was live music playing and the older people were dancing to it in a circle. That was pretty funny but also nice to watch. Besides, I finished my antibiotics yesterday evening so this night I could have the cervesa that I denied myself earlier.

In the evening I went back to Monjuic to see the font magica. I didn't expect much of it but I had to change my opinion. I looked very nice with the colors and the music and all. I stayed long enough to see the spectacle twice and after that went back to the hostel.
It was a wonderful day. I didn't think I would like Barcelona that much before I left home, but after three days, I realized I am in love with it already!
sylviandavid says:
Lovely blog...
Posted on: Oct 02, 2009
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Mirador del Palau Nacional
Mirador del Palau Nacional
Mirador del Palau Nacional
Mirador del Palau Nacional
El Palau Nacional
El Palau Nacional
The Cathedral Square
The Cathedral Square
The Cathedral Square
The Cathedral Square
Streets of the Barri Gotic
Streets of the Barri Gotic
Streets of the Barri Gotic
Streets of the Barri Gotic
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Font Magica
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm