Housed in the Palau Nacional (National Palace of Montjuic), the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya or MNAC) boasts one of the most spectacular locations in Barcelona, fronted by the dazzling Magic Fountain and overlooked by the towering Montjuic Mountain and Castle. The impressive Neo-Baroque building was designed by Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadalfach for the legendary 1929 International Exhibition and first hosted the National Art Museum in 1934. One of the city’s most iconic structures, the palace’s majestic façade, exquisite Modernista furnishings and glittering chandeliers are as breathtaking as the art displayed within and a popular tourist attraction in itself.
Today, the MNAC is Catalonia’s largest museum with some 260,000 works and home to the world’s most important collection of Romanesque Art, alongside a wide selection of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces. The vast collection spans from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, including pieces by Catalan painters Pere Serra, Jaume Huguet and Bernat Martorell; world-renowned names like Titian, Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán; and later works by artists like Goya, El Greco and Rubens. Highlights include a series of 12th and 13th century frescoes, many sourced from Pyrenean churches; Zurbarán's Immaculate Conception; a series of Modernista design pieces by Gaudi; and Catalonia’s most significant collection of drawings, prints and posters. It’s not only artworks on display at the museum either - a fascinating exhibit showcases medals and coins, with coins spanning the Greek colony of Catalonia to the present day Euro.