Just because you already own 500 medieval polychrome sculptures of the Madonna and Child, is that any reason not to buy a few hundred more? That must have been the sort of quandary that faced sculptor Frederic Marès (1893–1991) during the many decades he spent assembling this extraordinary group of objects, now the permanent collection of the museum that bears his name. The museum has an enviably central location in the Gothic Quarter (literally in the shadow of the Cathedral), and it presents one of Spain’s most thorough—one is tempted to say obsessive—collections of sculpture and decorative arts. It’s important to pace yourself, as at a certain point you may want to hold up your hand and say, “Enough!” (Will I focus on the daguerreotypes, the unicycles, or the hat pin collection?) The great joy of seeing so many related objects installed side-by-side is that it reveals the subtle differences in the hand of each anonymous sculptor of the crucifixes or the Gardens of Eden, for instance. The museum, acknowledging the vastness of its collections, allows you to use your admission ticket for a return visit. Handicapped access is somewhat limited, although an elevator goes to most levels of the rambling historic building. There’s a delightfully shady courtyard under the entrance arches, and a pleasant café (Café d’Estiu) where, between April and September, you can enjoy a light lunch before or after your visit to the galleries.
Museu Frederic Marès
Plaça de San Iu, 5
Our Rating Hours Mon and Wed–Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 11am–8pm Transportation Metro: Jaume I Phone 93-256-35-00 Prices Admission 4.20€ adults, 2.40€ seniors and students. Free Sun 3–8pm. Web site Museu Frederic Marès
MapPlaça de San Iu, 5 Barcelona
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.