If your exchange program brings you to the Catalan coast, you will find that Barcelona is not only the city of the Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia. Catalonia, and Barcelona, in particular, is the region of origin of the most significant artists of the 20th-century and offers a great diversity of museums, art centers and schools such as Estudio Nomada not to be missed!
If only for its location in an old Catalan Gothic palace in the Born district, the place would already be worth the trip.
But this museum is also unique because it was born from the wish of Picasso himself, arrived in Barcelona at the age of 14 to enter the school of Fine Arts. His collection traces the evolution of the artist chronologically. Unlike the Picasso Museum in Paris, you will see fewer masterpieces by the painter because the originality of the museum comes from its impressive collection of early works, many from the artist's own collection. You will be able to discover Picasso as drawing virtuoso, which sheds new light on his adulthood.
Whilst you are in Barcelona, you can also pay your respect to one of the most famous local artists in the world: Joan Miró.
Located in the Montjuic Park - which is also worth a visit - this foundation was designed by Jose Lluis Sert, a friend of the artist, and in collaboration with the latter. It houses the largest collection of Miró's works in a very wide variety of mediums: about 200 paintings, 200 sculptures, more than 6200 sketches and notes collected by Miró throughout his life, but also books, prints and tapestries.
Thanks to this collection, we can follow the artist's complete artistic trajectory and his evolution, from his training in Barcelona to his last works and his various influences and links with the artistic movements of the 20th century, such as surrealism by example.
In the heart of the famous "El Raval" district, on the Plaza dels Àngels, which is often visited by local skaters, is the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.
In an ultra-modern building designed by the American architect Richard Meier, this museum exhibits mainly works from the second half of the 20th century. However, one should not expect to find the great names of modern Spanish artists such as Picasso, Miró or Dalí. This museum exhibits artists less known to the general public and caters to art lovers.
No big master, but various exhibitions enlightening the political, social and economic dynamics of our time, and many documentaries to watch in comfortable armchairs for those who have the time.
Located just behind the MACBA, the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona offers a different approach to contemporary art as well as a wide variety of cultural events: debates, festivals and concerts, film programs, lectures and conferences.
The CCCB promots creative development through technology and language, in connection with topical issues and public debate. The museum is a privileged place for independent artists and creators, and you will find original and offbeat works. Music and the performing arts have a special place in the CCCB: festivals, concerts and dance performances take place throughout the year.
A little less known than his Spanish colleagues Picasso and Miró, Antoni Tapiès is one of the highest representatives of the Spanish avant-garde, post-war period. Some of these works enhance the public squares and monuments of the city (Parliament of Catalonia, Passeig Picasso ...)
Created by the artist himself in 1984, the Tapies Foundation has 300 works (engravings, drawings, paintings, sculptures) which come for the major part of the artist's personal collection. Through it you will be able to appreciate the artistic itinerary, from its beginnings to its works of maturity.
For those who like to mix art with the environment, street art tours are highly recommended in Barcelona. Their street art is ubiquitous, and until recently artists from all over the world came to this mythical city to enjoy the great freedom that it allows urban art. Until 2005, one could quietly realize a mural in broad daylight without being bothered by the police. This golden age is over, but the city keeps track of it and you can discover a selection of big names in street art in every corner: Btoy, Miss Van, C215, PEZ and many others.
The Suñol Foundation, located just a stone's throw away from the famous Casa Mila de Gaudi on Passeig de Gracia, houses some 1,200 works and 200 mainly Spanish artists from the private collection of Josep Suñol, which extends from 1915 to 2006. You can see works by internationally renowned artists such as Warhol, Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Tàpies, Man Ray, and Giacometti, among others. The Foundation also offers temporary exhibitions, concerts, workshops and conferences.
In Spain, banks also care about art. Two of the most important Spanish banking companies (La Caixa and Banco Santander) are also important players in the national cultural and artistic scene. La CaixaForum, located in a former textile factory in Barcelona, is a cultural center run by La Caixa through its foundation as a social work. The program is varied: exhibitions of ancient, modern and contemporary art, film screenings, concerts, debates and conferences, literature cycles, etc.
Finally, The Santa Mònica Arts Center is located in a historical monument, the former 18th century convent of the same name, in the unmissable Raval district. This artistic center is dedicated to contemporary creation and more specifically to the Catalan scene. It offers more than 20 exhibitions per year as well as many activities.
We hope that this small guide to the artistic life which Barcelona offers will help you make your time in this wonderful city more enjoyable. We recommend that keep an eye out for 'Museum Night' a well-celebrated event during which all entries to museums are free for all, all night long and offer many activities!