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the national museum of catalan art (mnac of barcelona) is, along with the museu d’art contemporani de barcelona (macba), one of the most important museums of the city of barcelona. it is a museum with an extensive collection of romanesque artefacts. this collection is considered to be the most complete one in the world.  it is therefore, seen as the biggest attraction of this beautiful museum.

if one looks at the history of the museum itself, one will find out that it was solely established in 1990. the current state is a result of the merge of the collections from the former museum of modern art, of which the establishment dates back to 1945, and the museum of catalan art, built in 1934. the building of the mnac consists of several separate buildings however, most famous is the stunning main building, the national palace of montjuïc, that was built for the international expo of 1929.

palace of montjuïc and oval hall

palace of montjuïc and oval hall

exhibition-wise, the mnac the museum shows the general history of catalan art from the romanesque period up until the mid-twentieth century. the owner´s discourse of the romaneque as well as the gothic collections stands out particularly since their provenance (the chronological line of previous owners) has been mostly catelan, which is unusual when compared to the other artefacts exhibited in the museum. the renaissance and the baroque collections are indeed, mostly characterized by a more international discourse of owners as the most famous painters in this field are e.g. el greco, velázquez and rubens.

without a doubt, the most famous artefact exhibited at the national museum of catalan art is the pantocrator climent de taüll, stemming from the romantic era. this painting attracts many visitors. of all the works displayed in the mnac romanesque works of art are the most prominent.

mnac dome and the pantocrator climent de taüll

mnac dome and the pantocrator climent de taüll

when planning your visit to the mnac in barcelona, we suggest to take the following aspects into account:

opening hours
• summer opening hours (may 2 to september 30): tuesday to saturday 10 am to 8 pm sundays and holidays from 10 to 3 pm.

• winter opening hours (october 1 to april 20): tuesday to saturday 10 am to 6 pm sundays and holidays from 10 to 3 pm.

• on monday the national art museum of catalunya remains closed. the same goes for january 1, may 1 and january 25.

interior of the mnac

dome and interior of the mnac

tours and special events
to fully explore the notable works of the museum different audio tours are offered. moreover, previous to your visit you can do a virtual tour on the museum´s website in order to have an idea of what to expect and plan your trip.

we recommend the exhibitions:

the graphic work of a forerunner by the painter antoni viladomat i manalt (1678-1755). this exhibition runs from 10/05/2014 until 02/11/2014.

this exhibition is an ambitious project that is simultaneously held in various venues around the country. it relates to the year 1714 with regards to the artistic activity of that time. the project consists of a total of five exhibitions and shows, for the first time in history, the complete oeuvre of this artist.

pearl oysters-maker and oval-maker. baroque avant-garde and agrarian. based on works from inter alia: joan brossa, salvador dalí, pablo picasso, antoni tàpies and jacint verdaguer. this exhibition runs from: 09/10/2014 until 11/01/2015.

This exhibition will be set up in the context of the celebration of the tricentenary of 1714. the artist, perejaume, has prepared a project for the museu nacional that focusses on the connections between artistic tradition and avant-gardism in catalan art. it takes a cross-cutting look at catalan artistic creation.

works from the 2 featured exhibitions

works from the 2 featured exhibitions

a very nice event to attend is the special dance event ´´come to dance?´´ that takes place once a month on a saturday afternoon and is combined with free admission to the museum. on those days everybody is invited for some jazz dancing in the beautiful oval room of the museum. the upcoming dates for an afternoon out are:

• 13th september , from 17 to 19 pm. on stage: flat floot floogie boys

• 4th october, from 16 t0 17.45 pm. on stage: stradixie’s

• 15th november, from 16 t0 17.45 pm. on stage: juli aymi’swing

• 13 december, from 16 to 17.45 pm. on stage: saphie wells & swing cats

during and after the visit
if you are tired, we suggest to have a bite to eat or enjoy a nice glass of wine on the rooftop of the museum or in its café/restaurant. the rooftop charge is 3€ but definitely worth the money because of the stunning views over the city that can be enjoyed from here.

outside
if you are visiting the museum during the weekend, consider to go see the beautiful fontana magica in front of the mnac after your visit. at night a spectacular water show accompanied by beautiful music is presented and many tourists make the trip uphill to enjoy this magical happening.

as part of your trip to barcelona, we definitely recommend to visit this special museum with afterwards some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful watershow and the stunning views from the top of the montjuïc mountain!

fontana magica and the come to dance event

fontana magica and the come to dance event

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the bullfighting in spain is questioned since years, people saying that the act and killing of the bull should be forbidden and not be longer a part of spanish culutral activities. however when the event is taking place the entrance card are sold out quickly and banns thousands of people for some hours in the world of bullfighting with all his emotions.

in this blog we will not focus so much in the history of it moreover we want to present famous bullrings as “the plaza de toros” in ronda, “plaza toros las ventas”  in madrid and  “plaza de toros de la maestranza” in sevilla. for sure there are a lot more rings all over spain, as almost every bigger city has his own bullring, but as the three “plazas” mentioned before are the most important ones in spain, we will have a closer look to them.

but before presenting the three rings let me take you shortly through the history of the bullfighting in spain. the bullfighting in spain as we know today was created in the early 18th century from francisco romero, while the first ring was build in 1749.

one of the oldest plaza de toros in spain, younger and smaller than that at sevilla, but home to one of spain’s most famous ‘schools’ of bullfighting, is ronda.  this city became the city of birth of the traditional bullfighting and the city of practice for the first toreros. torero is the definiton off all people participating during the act. otherwise there are novilleros, matadores, banderillero and picadores. however the main protagonist is the matador who is angering the bull with the “muleta“, the red cloth, and giving the bull the deathblow witht the sword.

rondabefunky

the traditional bullfighting, corrida in spain, and his main act are divided into three parts

tercio de varas

in the first part the torero is meeting the bull, this part should give him the opportunity to get to know his enemy, read his movements, and get along with him. some movements of the torero are accompanied by the audience with an “olé”

tercio de banderillas

in the second part the banderillos, helpers of the torereo, comes into the act. their task is it to weaken the bull by stinging 3 banderillas, colourful spears, into the back of the bull

tercio de muleta y estocada

the final showdown in which the torero is trying to prick the rapier into the bull´s heart and finish him off

today the plaza de toros is a museum, open to tourists, and used only in the spectacular september goyesca bullfights, in which combatants dress in the manner of goya’s portraits of 18th century life in spain. this year the act will be performed the 6th of september.

however the plaza de toros de las ventas in madrid became through the decades to one of the  most important ring of bullfighting worldwide. the plaza was build up in 1929 and presents since then the bullfighting spectacle to their audience. the ring has a capacity of ca. 25.000 people, who can enjoy the fighting.

BeFunky_las-ventas.jpg

the season of the bullfighting is from may til october, however the best time to experience this act is during the san isidro festival in may and june, where almost every day a bullfight is shown to the audience.

apart of the bullfighting it is posible to visit the ring and his museum, a tour giving you the opportunity to learn more about the history of bullfighting and about the spanish passion for it.

the third ring which is being presented is the plaza de la maestranza in sevilla, the oldest and most significant bullrings in spain. it took more than 100 years to build up this ring with all his beauty. in this ring the bullfight moved from horseback to foot, and many of the cherished theatrical traditions of the matador evolved

 

Plaza_de_Toros_de_la_Maestranza

BeFunky_images.jpg

 

during the feria de abril, a week-long celebration of all things in seville, the season´s most prestigious fights are held. every afternoon, crowds pack the plaza de toros (under locals known as “the cathedral”) to see the “dance” between the matador and the bull. 

if the spectacle turns your stomach and is to much for you, you might like to visit only the museum and leave it at that. here you will find the chapel where the matadors pray, the hospital area in case of accidents, bull´s heads and matador´s costumes

bullfighting for sure is not as popular as it was once, but people still go and enjoy the act. for most of the outsiders it is hard to understand how people can get joy of this spectacel. but this not understanding exists in for example every kind of sports, not everyone likes futbol, saying what is so interesting about when 22 people are trying to catch a ball. and as long as the goverment will not forbid this event, the audience will go on jellying and shouting an “oléééééééééééééééé”

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in case you find yourself in the capital of spain, overwhelmed by the increasing heat, you may want to find interesting and exciting places where you can spend your days and prepare for even hotter madrid nightlife.. there is certainly a number of great options for any taste, however, in this artice we have prepared a little insight into what the city can offer to travellers interested in culture and art.

first of all we want to encourage you to explore the so-called the golden triangle of art which consists of three art museums that are among the most important museums in the world: the prado museum (museo del prado), the reina sofía museum (museo nacional centro de arte reina sofía) and the thyssen-bornemisza museum (museo thyssen-bornemisza).

 

pradocol1.jpg
the prado museum,
is among the most prestigious art museums in the world, storing more than 8000 masterpieces from the spanish, flemish and italian schools, starting from the middle ages to the 19th century.

the accent is put on spanish artists, including the magnificent “las
meninas
” by velázquez which happens to bealso the best-known work displayed at the museum.

in addition to permanent exhibitions this summer you can also enjoy two temporary exhibitions: “el greco and modern painting” and “evil vanishes. egusquiza and wagner´s parsifal in the museo del prado”.

the museum is located on paseo de prado, with the nearest metro stations being banco de españa and atocha.

the opening hours from monday to saturday are from 10am to 8pm; on sundays and holidays from 10am to 7pm.

prado

 

the next museum on the “art walk” list is the reina sofía museumsofiacol2.jpg, which is the house for around 20´000 masterpieces, dating from late 19th century to today.

once there you must definitely see the masterpiece “el guernica” by pablo picasso. museum also has an extensive collection of other spanish artists, such as as joan miró and salvador dalí.

nevertheless, if you are more interested in international artists,. the collections also include works by artists like francis bacon, damien hirst, max ernst, lucio fontana, etc.sofia.jpg

 

the programme of museum includes all types of artistic disciplines, divided into three collections: “the irruption of the 20th century, utopia and conflicto (1900-1945)”, “is the war over? art in a divided world (1945-1968)” and “from revolt to postmodernity (1962-1982)”.

this summer we recommend you to visit also the temporary exhibitions that include works by richard ham
ilton
and kerry james marshall.

the museum is located on street santa isabel, 52 with the closest metro station being atocha.

opening hours from monday to saturday are 10am – 9pm, on sunday 10am – 7 pm. the museum is closed on tuesdays.

 

 

 

 

 

last but not the least important museum in the golden triangle of art is the thyssen – bornemisza museum which housesaround 1000 arthyssencol1.jpgtworks from the 13th to 20th century.

it is interesting to note that the museum initially started of as a personal collection by baron hans heinrich thyssen-bornemisza and his father, baron heinrich.

thyssen supplements the madrid´s art temple with unique works of such underrepresented areas as the early italian school, impressionism, german expressionism, russian constructivism, , pop art, etc.

if you visit thyssen this summer, you have the opportunity to see two temporary exhibitions, a mixture of conventional and contextual exhibitions. these are – “pop art myths” and “alma-tadema and victorian painting in the pérez-simón collection”.

thyscol.jpg

thyssen is located in palacio de villahermosa, paseo del prado, 8 which is near the metro station banco de españa.

until september 14 the temporary exhibitions are open from 10am to 10pm on tuesdays to saturdays and from 10am to 7pm on sundays and mondays.

 

 

although the three aforementioned museums are the very cornerstones of madrid´s art collections there are even more interesting cultural places to see, e.g. the arts centre matadero or caixaforum – the live space for old, modern and contemporary art, music and poetry .matcaixa.jpg

across spain would like to invite you to be our guest and explore the never-ending artistic and cultural opportunities the city has to offer, be it either by yourself or by choosing any of our several guided tours and art gallery routes.

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