Located on Montjuïc and housed in the spectacular Palau Nacional, MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) is one of Spain's greatest museums. Its collection, comprised primarily of Catalan artwork artwork spanning the centuries, is particularly prized for its collection of medieval works. In fact, its Romanesque and Gothic collections are considered amongst the most comprehensive and extensive in the world. The MNAC's rich collection of regional artwork from throughout Catalunya is also a telling indicator of how advanced Barcelona culture was in comparison with the rest of Spain during medieval times.
The museum was founded in 1990 by joining together the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Art of Catalunya, museums that had been created several decades earlier. Other sections were soon added and the museum's holdings rapidly increased and diversified.
Nowadays, the museum's collection consists of somewhere in the ballpark of 250,000 pieces of art corresponding to the various sections (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, Photography, Drawings & Prints, Numismatics, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, etc.). Add to that a constant schedule of international exhibitions and you have a world-class museum with a reputation to fit its collection.
For post-1950 works, head to the MACBA, another of Barcelona's great museums. However, for artwork from the 11th through mid-20th centuries, the MNAC National Art Museum of Catalunya is far and away the best in Barcelona.