Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Art Museum of Catalonia

Only in reviewing the photos and pulling the posts together I realize how art-centric our Barcelona trip really was. And that must mean we have come a long way in our art appreciation and endurance, because I loved every moment of it!

Saturday in Spain we took the metro from our suburbia hotel into Barcelona (we have become cheapskates staying as far out as possible to jump on the metro and pop into the city). We beelined it directly to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya - aka the National Art Museum of Catalonia. I remember seeing this building during our previous visit atop Montjuic. But on the way to visit the Olympic site - we passed it right by. Jiminy Crickets. Glad we returned because this place is super special. So special in fact that it commands countless staircases to get to! Thankfully those Catalan people were planning for us mobility-impaired and installed parallel escalators all the way up.
Connor thought they were pretty fun. And we got there A LOT faster than we would have otherwise. Without those escalators we might still be climbing!
Museum aside, the Barcelona view from the top was well worth the electronic ascent. The museum that followed caught me completely off guard. It was spectacular in every way. Definitely one of the top three art museums I have ever seen.First, the museum itself was breathtaking. It is within the National Palace built for the 1929 World's Fair. The World Fair phenomenon really made its mark on Europe - leaving so many beautiful monuments.With a name like "Catalan" I figured the art would be limited to a narrow and specific group of artists and styles. When Kirk read that the museum was compared as a Spanish Musee D'Orsay it was a pleasant surprise.Inside the surprises kept coming! Every exhibition wing was like Christmas morning with the artistic gifts ready to unwrap!There were Impressionist masters peppered throughout - but also more unique and unusual crafts like this stained-glass and the vase portraying the loving scene with Mary and the angel Gabriel.Even with the Renoirs and Monets there were Spanish artists with the colorful flair and pizzazz so stereotypical of the country!I thought this pair of ladies was captivating. Especially when you get up close to see the brushwork.I couldn't understand it. Saturday morning and the galleries were absolutely empty except for us. It made for a perfect visit...but really baffling.Yet hold on to your hat! The best part hasn't even yet come. We found our way downstairs to the Romanesque section. The most significant part of this collection are the internationally important wall-paintings of Romanesque churches and chapels around Catalonia that have been transferred to the museum. I really couldn't wrap my brain about it. All the frescoes and altars transferred to the museum from their original churches. You can't believe it til you see it!Here is the back of one of the church domes. How did they ever get it together for such a delicate collection and reconstruction?!?We all loved this Catalan Museum. Don't miss it if you go to Barcelona! Stairs, escalators and all!

1 comment:

Aaron said...

It is so funny that you mention how your appreciation for art has grown since you've been here. Jenna and I were looking at your pictures and both thought that it looked like a really great museum, so we went back and looked at our blog post from Barcelona, one of the first places we travelled to. We devoted one line to the museum, saying it was "nice".

Granted, we went at the end of a day spent climbing all those stairs (and an additional walk to the top of that hill), so we were a little tired, but still. I think if we were to go back today we would have a completely different take on the place. Amazing how your perspective can change in just 18 months!