Housed in part of the Palau Reial Major, a palace that dates back to the Spanish Inquisition, the Museu Frederic Marès is a giant wunderkammer of sculptures, art, and everyday objects amassed by the sculptor and avid collector Frederic Marès during his long life.
The main sculpture exhibit is an extensive array of medieval Spanish pieces, generally dating between the 15th and 19th centuries. There is also the wonderful “Collector’s Cabinet,” an assortment of Marès’ collection of household items from daily Spanish life, which fills up 17 halls in the museum.
Tobacco pipes, dolls, ladies’ fans, walking sticks, pocket watches, seashell-encrusted vases, keys, and more line the walls of this oddly fascinating space. Of particular interest are the collection of bouquet holders—small receptacles that enabled women to wear small floral arrangements on their hands as accessories—and the display of embroideries made with human hair.
Know Before You Go
Located in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, the museum is immediately next to the Barcelona Cathedral, and a very short walk from the Museum of the History of Barcelona.