Museums in Barcelona
Permanent and temporary exhibitions; works by Picasso, Miró, Gaudí and Velézaquez… Barcelona’s streets are filled with art and history, and its museums hold gems from different periods that you should make time to discover. Below are our recommendations of five of the best museums in the city.
In the heart of the Raval neighbourhood, in the Plaza dels Àngels, stands the impressive building of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, with a design as avant-garde as the art it houses.
*MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. / Photo: Facebook profile of MACBA.
The MACBA collection invites critical debate on culture and the birth of differing artistic viewpoints; a chronological narrative of social, economic and political change.
The museum currently has a number of temporary exhibitions open to the public. One is dedicated to the Polish architect, Oskar Hansen, and focuses on his Open Form theory. The museum’s new exhibition space, El Gran Vidrio (The Large Glass), makes its debut hosting the audiovisual work of Javier Codesal, Los Pies que Faltan (The Missing Feet) (2010), a collection of testimonies from individuals who were blown up by mines as a result of guerrilla warfare in Colombia. Xabier Ribas presents his first monographic exhibition, on nitrate extraction. Other exhibitions currently on are La Herencia inmaterial (The Immaterial Legacy), El Ojo Escucha (The Listening Eye) and la Realidad Invocable (Invocable Reality).
The museum is open every day of the week, except for Tuesdays.
This museum is in Casa Milà, commonly known as La Pedrera (the Stone Quarry). It’s the last non-religious building constructed by Antoni Gaudí, and has occupied number 92, Paseo de Gracia since 1912.
*La Pedrera, Casa Milá. / Photo: lapedrera.com
Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the building itself is a work of art to behold. Its extraordinary structure doesn’t have a single straight line and recreates natural forms using bricks, along with tiles and broken bottles of cava (a technique known as trencadís).
La Pedrera’s temporary exhibition hall is situated on the main floor. Since 1992 it’s hosted works from artists such as Goya, Malèvitx, Ródtxenko, Dalí, Giacometti and Chillida, as well as exhibitions dedicated to Japanese prints, Russian icons and European photography. We’ll have to wait until 21 October for the next exhibition, dedicated to the artist, designer and photographer El Lissitzky: The experience of totality.
During the summer, you can enjoy a drink while immersed in the essence of Gaudí, while listening to live jazz music on the rooftop terrace, looking out over the spectacular views of Barcelona.
One of the cultural centres run by the Social Projects of La Caixa Foundation, it’s located in a privileged spot on the hill of Montjuïc in Barcelona, in a building that was formerly part of the old Casaramona textile factory.
* CaixaForum Barcelona. / Photo: Wikipedia.org.
The CaixaForum Barcelona has permanent exhibitions, such as the planetarium, the hall of matter and the flooded forest, but also hosts temporary exhibitions. This summer Sorolla is the protagonist, with the exhibition Sorolla, The Colour of the Sea, a retrospective of his works dedicated to his favourite topic, the sea.
But that’s not the only gem of this summer season. The Social Projects of the Caixa, in collaboration with the Prado National Museum, is also presenting Captive Beauty, Small Treasures from the Prado. An exhibition that analyses miniature and small format works from the museum’s collection, in a rich ensemble of painting and sculpture.
Other temporary exhibitions currently hosted by the CaixaForum include: Windows on the World, Contretemps and The Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay.
Picasso was born in Malaga but lived in Barcelona during his adolescence and formative years, maintaining a deep relationship with the city up to his death. The Barcelona Picasso Museum, created at the behest of the artist himself, is the leading centre for the study of these years of the life of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. It opened to the public in 1963 and the permanent collection has over 4,000 works. It occupies five large, original, townhouses, dating from the 13th-15th centuries, on Calle Montcada.
* Picasso Museum. / Photo: elperiodico.com
It hosts temporary exhibitions over the course of the year. From now until 14 September, you can see Landscapes of Barcelona, a collection of paintings and drawings that depict coastal and urban spaces of Barcelona, from 1895 to 1903.
Joan Miró Foundation
Over 14,000 pieces make up the permanent collection of the Joan Miró Foundation, covering paintings, sculptures, textiles, graphic works, ceramics and sketches by the Spanish artist. It’s a gallery that allows the visitor to travel through the artistic life of Miró, from his first sketches to the huge paintings that characterised the last period of his life. The Joan Miró Foundation is located in Montjuïc Park, and is housed in a 1970s building designed by Josep Lluís Sert, which is a reference work for the Catalan rationalist movement.
*Joan Miró Foundation. / Photo: Facebook Profile Joan Miró Foundation.
In addition to Miró’s works the museum also has a modest collection of contemporary art, donated and lent to the museum by leading artists a year after Miró’s death, in tribute to the artist.
The museum currently hosts the following temporary exhibitions: La Fundició: Espai 14-15; From Miró to Barcelona; Joaquim Gomis. Mercè 1969 (photos of Barcelona’s main annual festival); Roni Horn. Everything was sleeping as if the universe were a mistake (winner of the fourth edition of the Joan Miró prize); and Buno, in which Antonio Gagliano uses mnemonic tools to represent time.
Hotels in Barcelona
If you’re a lover of art and culture then Barcelona, as you’ve just seen, is the perfect choice to spend some time off. Vincci Hotels recommends staying in one of our three hotels in the city, all of which are very different in design, but which have one fundamental thing in common: your comfort.
If you like modern art, we’d recommend you stay in the hotel Vincci Bit 4*, in the Diagonal Mar area of the city. The passageways of each floor are decorated with murals by world renowned artists, while interesting graffiti and entertaining figures are to be found all over this fun, different, avant-garde hotel.
*Passageway in the hotel Vincci Bit 4* Barcelona.
On the rooftop terrace you can enjoy the swimming pool that’s just perfect for a dip when it gets too hot, or you can enjoy the best in modern (of course) cuisine, on the terrace of the Hopen Restaurant.
If you love surrealist art then your best bet is the hotel Vincci Gala 4*, located right in the city centre. Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala will greet you in reception from their huge murals that decorate the space. It’s a unique hotel, welcoming, with a modern touch to all its rooms and public areas. The terrace is a perfect spot to enjoy Barcelona evenings, with a refreshing mojito in hand.
* Reception of the hotel Vincci Gala 4* Barcelona.
And last but not least, if you want to relax amidst Eastern Philosophy in a Japanese Garden then head to the Vincci Marítimo 4*. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Mar Bella beach, and the Diagonal del Mar shopping centre. It has avant-garde decor and an all glass façade, which provides the hotel, rooms included, with huge amounts of natural light. And if you want to try fine Catalan cuisine you don’t even need to leave the hotel; the new Jardí de Mar restaurant and its extensive menu is just waiting for you.
*Japanese Garden at the hotel Vincci Marítimo 4* Barcelona.
Come and get to know the museums in Barcelona, at the same time as you discover Vincci’s artistic side.