Art & Culture

The best theatre, art exhibitions, comedy and cabaret in Barcelona

Art

This month's top exhibitions

Ten art exhibitions you won't want to miss in Barcelona's museums and galleries

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Museums

Barcelona's best museums

Consider this your cultural bucket list

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Art

Outdoor art in Barcelona

Look around! Some of Barcelona's best works of art, architecture and gardens are out in the open

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Art

Barcelona's best art galleries

Who says art has a price? Get your fix for free at these must-see galleries

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Museums

Quirky museums

Find curiosities and oddities in museums to fascinate and intrigue...

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Critics' choice • Essential museums

Museums

Fundació Joan Miró

Josep Lluís Sert, who spent the years of the Franco dictatorship as dean of the School of Design at Harvard University, designed one of the greatest museum buildings in the world on his return. Approachable, light and airy, these white walls and arches house a collection of more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró's graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. (read more)

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Museu Picasso

When it opened in 1963, the museum dedicated to Barcelona's favourite adopted son was housed in the Palau Aguilar. Nearly five decades later, the permanent collection of some 3,800 pieces has now been spread across five adjoining palaces, two of which are devoted to temporary exhibitions. By no means an overview of the artist's work, the Museu Picasso is rather a record of the vital formative years that the young Picasso spent nearby at La Llotja art school, and later hanging out with Catalonia's fin-de-siècle avant-garde. (read more)

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Macba. Museu d'Art Contemporani

If you're used to being soft-soaped by eager-to-please art centres, you'll have to adjust to the cryptic minimalism of the MACBA, where art is taken very seriously indeed. Yet if you can navigate the fridge-like interior of Richard Meier's enormous edifice, accept that much of the permanent collection is inaccessible to the uninitiated, tackle shows that flutter between the brilliant and baffling, and, most important, are prepared to do your reading, a trip to the MACBA can be extremely rewarding. (read more)

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Museums

MNAC: Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

'One museum, a thousand years of art' is the slogan of the National Museum, and the collection provides a dizzying overview of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. In recent years the museum has added an extra floor to absorb the section of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection that was previously kept in the convent in Pedralbes, along with the mainly Modernista holdings from the former Museum of Modern Art in Parc de la Ciutadella, a fine photography section, coins and the bequest of Francesc Cambó, founder of the autonomist Lliga Regionalista, a regionalist conservative party. (read more)

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Museums

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies exploded on to the art scene in the 1950s when he began to incorporate waste paper, mud and rags into his paintings, eventually moving on to the point where his works included whole pieces of furniture, running water and girders. Today, he's Barcelona's most celebrated living artist, and his trademark scribbled and paint-daubed pieces are sought after for everything from wine bottle labels to theatre posters. (read more)

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Attractions

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Basílica de la Sagrada Família

'Send Gaudí and the Sagrada Família to hell,' wrote Picasso. While it is easy to see how some of the religious clichés of the building and the devotional fervour of its creator might annoy an angry young Cubist, Barcelona's iconic temple still manages to inspire delight in equal measure. Gaudí dedicated more than 40 years (the last 14 of them exclusively) to the project, and is buried beneath the nave. Many consider the crypt and the Nativity façade, which were completed in his lifetime, as the most beautiful elements of the church. 

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Park Güell

Gaudí's brief for the design of what became Park Güell was to emulate the English garden cities so admired by his patron Eusebi Güell: to lay out a self-contained suburb for the wealthy, but also to design the public areas. (This English influence explains the anglicised spelling of 'Park'.) 

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La Pedrera

Described variously as rising dough, molten lava and a stone lung, the last secular building designed by Antoni Gaudí, the Casa Milà (popularly known as La Pedrera, 'the stone quarry') has no straight lines. It is a stupendous and daring feat of architecture, and the culmination of the architect's experimental attempts to recreate natural forms with bricks and mortar (not to mention ceramics and even smashed-up cava bottles).

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Camp Nou

No club in football history has achieved what Pep Guardiola's men managed in 2009: six tournaments, six trophies. This 'annus memorabilis' climaxed in December with the FIFA World Club Cup win over Estudiantes, the tactics-obsessed young coach telling his players: 'Lose and you'll still be the best team in the world; win, and you'll be eternal.' Like Guardiola himself, seven of the Champions League-winning XI were formed at FCB's youth system, including Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

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