dissabte, 10 de novembre de 2012

Brief history of MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia)

Barcelona from the Stairs of MNAC
The MNAC contains works of art from the 10th to the 20th century. 1000 years of art's history in one museum. The different collections at the National Art Museum of Catalonia offers a complete exhibition including all the artistic disciplines (sculpture, painting, drawing, engraving, posters, as well as photography and coin collections) inside a great example of architecture. It aims to give a vision of art in Catalonia throughout history, from the Romanesque period to modern times, and the avant-garde movement. The collection features works by famous artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Fortuny, Gaudí, Casas, Rusiñol, Picasso, Dalí, Miró & Tàpies. The Museum is housed in the National Palace of Montjuïc, which was built for the International Exposition of Barcelona held in 1929. The Palace, after being remodelled by the italian architect Gae Aulenti, has become one of the most symbolic buildings of the city. Whorthy to include the audioguide with your entrance ticket. It helps to focus on the collection of Masterpieces. I will try to be brief! Following the art history timeline, the visit starts with the mural painting fresco of St. Climent de Taüll Apse. It's generally considered one of the most outstanding Romanesque paintings from the 12th century, showing a combination of different biblical visions that present us with Christ at the Last Judgement: the Apocalypse. 

Fresco of St. Climent de Taüll Apse (MNAC)
The next style is the Gothic from the latest 13th century to the 15th. One of the best examples of sculpture is the Head of Christ, atributted to Jaume Cascalls (14th century) remarkable for its dramatic affect and naturalist style. The cultural background from the 16th to 18th century in Catalonia is poor and almost non-existent. The most valuable artworks during the period of Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical style had been produced by famous european artists such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Fragonard or Goya. In the 19th century, a period of cultural recovery began in Catalonia with the Realism of Fortuny and The Vicarage exhibited in Paris (1870) representing a Spanish Wedding. The 20th century is without any doubt, one of the most creative times in Catalonia's artistic history, thanks to the new influences coming from Europe. The beginning of the 20th century was characterized by the movement called Modernisme, with wide and large variety of well known artists such as Casas, Rusiñol, Nonell, Mir, Utrillo, the brothers Joan & Josep Llimona, Blay, Arnau and Riquer among others. The museum dedicates the entire 2nd floor to discover paintings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry and stained glass of the best artists from that period. It's too difficult to recommend just one piece, because the Modern Style was the perfect integration of all the artistic disciplines working together to create a new conception of art, more creative, social & patriothic. Finally, the collection ends with the avant-garde. Starting in the 30's of the 20th century, the avant-gardes represented a pushing of the boundaries. Notable artists were Julio González and Pablo Gargallo in sculpture; meanwhile Picasso, Dalí and Miró were the best painters. During the 2nd catalan avant-gardes, the most famous artists were Subirachs, Cuixart and Tàpies.