Making my way towards the Olympic Stadium at Montjuic, it was another altogether more impressive structure that first appeared through the greenery to demand my attention.
For all the attempts at creating a classical feel at the stadium to my less than discerning eye it felt like moulded concrete, and given that it’s a twentieth century structure that isn’t so surprising. What was surprising was that the more impressive building nearby, for all its baroque pomp, is also a twentieth century construction.
The Palau Nacional (National Palace in Catalan), like the Olympic stadium, was built in the 1920’s for the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929, but it has all the grandeur of something designed 300 years earlier.
It now houses the contradictory-titled National Museum of Catalan Art. Is it a national museum or a Catalan museum? In such a fiercely separatist area the hope is that Catalonia will be recognised as a nation and the confusion will be ended. For now though it houses a collection of art from the region that runs from Romanesque church frescoes to a history of modern art.
We’ll consider some of the contents, and indeed the interior structure in later posts. For now lets just enjoy the shell.