The National Art Museum of Catalonia has put the task to explain the general history of the Catalan art from the Romanesque period to the mid-twentieth century. As it did it, there appeared strong connections to the European art in general, and in fact, the museum turned into an exclusive exploration of the European art as a part of all international discourses of the Catalan's art history throughout thousand years, displaying the greatest works of such famous artists as El Greco, Zurbarn, Velzquez, Cranach and Rubens.
The National Art Museum of Catalonia embraces all the arts (sculpture, painting, objects d'art, drawing, engraving, posters, photography and coinage), numerous sections are dedicated to each genre, while the museum has the largest displays of the Romanesque and Gothic art with medieval works, housed in monographic sections and dedicated to individual painters or specific themes. The masterpieces of the Romanesque art include paintings and sculptures of the Vall de Bo (Bo Valley) that adorned the churches in the valleys of the Pirineo Occidental region, the Crist de Mitjaran (Christ of Mitjaran), the Davallament d'Erill La Vall (The Deposition of Erill La Vall) and the renowned Figura de Maria (figure of the Holy Virgin).
The National Museum of Art of Catalonia has a wealthy Gothic section that contains collections of works by Jaume Huguet, Bernat Martorell, Bartolom Bermejo and el Maestro de Baltimore. The Gothic art is characterized by the material richness and decorative profusion and is presented in mural painting, panel painting, metalwork, enamel work, stone sculpture, wood and ivory carving.
The Renaissance and Baroque Art section is not a display of royal and aristocratic collections, to which these arts are generally referred. It comprises the largest displays of local artworks and gifts from private collections from Catalonia, the rest of Spain, Italy and Flanders as to show the development of the Renaissance art and Baroque genre throughout Europe. Here are the works of Jacint Rigau, born in Roussillon and known as Hyacinthe Rigaud at the court of Louis XIV, an outstanding portrait painter, who originated the tradition of all court portraits in Europe. The Lady Bearing the Attributes of Diana is a local version of the Rococo, painted by Pere Crusells, who as Viladomat served Archduke Charles of Hapsburg (the pretender to the Spanish throne).
An interesting section in the National Art Museum of Catalonia is the Numismatic Cabinet of Catalonia that consists of the most significant in history collection of coins, medals and valuable paper with a total of one hundred and thirty thousand samples. You can see here everything from pieces from the 6th century BC to banknotes, bounds, credit vouchers and cheques.
The National Art Museum of Catalonia includes a prolific Modern Art section, featuring Neoclassicism, Naturalism, Modernism and other contemporary genres. Here you may find the works of the most unusual artist in the Catalan art, a contemporary of the Modernista generation, Francesc Gimeno. In fact, this is the first major exhibition, devoted to the artist by a public institution in his country, which shows a dedication of the National Art Museum to fully represent all developments of the Catalan art.
The museum also has one-of-the-kind photography and photojournalism section, revealing the evolvement of the photo art from its birth to avant-garde styles and tendencies.