Frederic Marès Museum | Barcelona Bus Turístic

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Frederic Marès Museum

One of the city’s most unusual and least known museums

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A medieval royal palace is home to the works and collection of a sculptor who was passionate about art from the Romanesque period to the 19th century. Frederic Marès donated his immense and eclectic collection, which includes sculptures from all periods and thousands of everyday objects, to Barcelona City Council.

Why visit the Frederic Marès Museum?

The Frederic Marès Museum bears the name of its founder, a sculptor and collector who throughout his long life (he died at the age of 97) assembled an immense collection of works of art from various periods and a huge quantity of objects of all kinds, which he donated to the city of Barcelona in 1946.

The museum is located in the Gothic Quarter in the building that was the Palau Reial Major, the residence of several Counts of Barcelona and Kings of the Crown of Aragon. The Frederic Marès Museum was officially inaugurated in 1948, occupying four halls, but as Marès’s passion for collecting never faded, the building had to be progressively expanded with new halls until it reached its current volume in 1970. After extensive remodelling work it was reopened in 2011 with a new exhibition style.

The Frederic Marès Museum is one of the most curious museums in Barcelona. It includes a major collection of statuary and sculptures from ancient times to the 19th century, in addition to fabrics, medieval tables, precious metal pieces and furniture from various periods. But the most significant pieces are its thousands of everyday objects that form part of the ‘Collector’s Cabinet’. 1,295 packs of cigarette papers, 108 snuff boxes, 73 bouquets made of sea shells in glass cases, pipes, walking sticks and pocket watches, binoculars, thousands of iron locks and keys, toys, weapons and armour, medicinal jars… There is even a hall dedicated to the mountain of Montserrat!

 

How do you get to the Frederic Marès Museum?

The Frederic Marès Museum is next to Barcelona Cathedral. Hop off at the Barri Gòtic stop on the Red Route of Barcelona Bus Turístic and then take Avinguda de la Catedral and Carrer dels Comtes to Plaça de Sant Iu.

 

For the most curious of you

  • Did you know? In addition to being a collector, Frederic Marès was a renowned sculptor of public works. Some of his work can be seen at Plaça Goya, Plaça de Catalunya and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.
  • Local’s tip: One of the most admired spaces at the museum is the garden, which is visible from the street. It is part of the original orchard garden that was planted by King James the Just for his palace in the 14th century.
  • A must: For those who want to discover one of Europe’s most surprising museums; the Frederic Marès Museum forms part of a network of collector museums, which also includes Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and Glasgow’s Burrell Collection, among others.