02 March 2007

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

When we got to Barcelona Thursday afternoon, we ended up having to hang out for about an hour because the hostel guy couldn't check us in immediately. So, we sat in Plaça de Catalunya for a while, and finally got up to the Eixample to our hostel. After that, the plan was to first visit the Park Güell and then Sagrada Família, but we got to the park after dark and it didn't seem like a good idea, and by the time we got to Sagrada Família, it was long closed.

Undeterred, the next morning we continued with the plan, which was mostly centered around the area of Montjuïc: the Museum, Fundació Mies van der Rohe, and the Mirador de Colom. By the end of the day, we had also seen the Fundació Joan Miró and El Poble Espanyol. Very touristy, but it was our first time in Barcelona, and we were excited!

The Museum of Catalan Art was amazing. Very comprehensive, and nicely done. It was a great introduction for what was to come, along with some very new revelations. We didn't go to the Gothic section, because I tend to find it tedious, and I wanted to focus on the Romanesque and Modern collections.

The Romanesque collection was incredible. It was mostly a series of apses hacked out of churches and chapels in the mountains and brought to the museum. Here's how it looked from the front and the back:
Photos really weren't allowed in the museum, so I don't have many others.

The Modern collection was also, of course, very strong. These were two periods (Romanesque and Modern) of prosperity for Barcelona, so the art is very good. Some artists I saw for the first time (never heard of them before) and enjoyed: Damià Campeney, Claudi Lorenzale, Josep Tapiró, Antoni Caba, Josep Lluìs Pellicer, Hermen Anglada Camarasca, Xavier Nogues, and Joaquim Mir. One of the critical comments on the wall was interesting, it said that the Catalan academic painters' (of which Picasso's father was a teacher around the turn of the century) work was "excellently executed but hardly groundbreaking." I think a lot of art is like that.

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